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Rest Centres

Volume 465: debated on Thursday 26 May 1949

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asked the Minister of Health how many families have been evicted from rest centres in London during the last two months; which were the centres concerned; and why were these evictions ordered.

Three families have been evicted, one each from Argyll Road, Cadogan Gardens, and St. George's Square, for failure to pay the weekly charges. Notice of eviction has been served on 17 other families for the same reason; in 13 cases satisfactory proposals for payment have since been made, in the others the notices are still outstanding. In addition, notice of eviction has been issued in six cases because of a refusal to accept offers of permanent accommodation; in two of these, the notice was withdrawn on appeal, and in the other four the offers were accepted after the issue of the notice.

Does the Minister appreciate that the three who have actually been evicted were elected by the residents of these rest centres as chairmen, or other appropriate officers, of their residents' associations? Does he appreciate that in the working-class movement there is a word for this kind of treatment?

I also have a word for those people who are misleading these people into the hardships they are now suffering, but it is a word which one cannot use in the House of Commons. These people have not been evicted from this halfway house or rest house because they were the leaders. They were evicted because they seemed to consider that public funds should bear whatever charges they themselves want to impose upon them.


asked the Minister of Health whether, in view of the hardship involved in the case of the lowest income groups, he will reduce the present minimum charges for rest centre accommodation.

Although the charge for board and accommodation of three guineas a week for husband, wife and child may not be oppressive in the case of a man earning £6, £7 or £8 a week, does not my right hon. Friend think that it is definitely oppressive in the case of a man earning £4 a week, especially when he has also to pay for all the other necessaries of life?

This matter is administered by the local councils, and individual hardships are taken into account.

In view of the very unhelpful reply, I shall endeavour to raise this matter on the Adjournment.