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Rent Tribunal Offices

Volume 498: debated on Tuesday 1 April 1952

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asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government how many rent tribunal offices in the country have been and are being dispensed with and if he is aware that such action will result in hardship to proposed applicants for relief under the Rent Acts.

One office has been closed. Eight will be closed shortly and their work transferred to other offices. My right hon. Friend is satisfied that no hardship will be caused to applicants.

Is the hon. Gentleman aware of the fact that the purpose of this provision in the Rent Acts was to give to tenants easy access to those offices, and is he prepared to accept the representations in that respect which have been made to him in regard to the cutting down of these important offices?

My right hon. Friend is satisfied that there will be no hardship because, first, the information and forms are available at the offices of the local authority, and secondly, the tribunals will inspect premises and hear the cases locally. Therefore no hardship ought to follow for the tenants.


asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government what proposals he has under consideration in regard to the rent tribunals in the North-West region; and what will be the effect in regard to Cheshire and elsewhere.

Eight offices, including that at Chester, are being closed and their work transferred elsewhere in the region, with, my right hon. Friend hopes, fully satisfactory results.

Is the Minister seriously telling the House that he is proposing to eliminate no fewer than eight of these rent tribunals in Lancashire and Cheshire? Is that not another way of effectively killing the work of the rent tribunals? If that is the object of the Government, would it not be a more honourable course to repeal the legislation?

I can assure the hon. Gentleman that it is not the intention of the Government to do that. The number of applicants seeking help from the tribunals has dropped by more than 20 per cent., and it is not unreasonable, as the volume of work drops, that the tribunals should be transferred elsewhere.

Does the Minister appreciate that the proposal will mean that the whole county of Cheshire will not have one rent tribunal?

In the case of places like Birkhenhead, it is much easier for applicants to go to Liverpool than Chester.

Birkenhead Tribunal cases are not heard in Chester but in Birkenhead. The hon. Gentleman's announcement means that in all the large towns in Lancashire and Cheshire applicants will have to traipse up to Manchester and such places.

In my answer to an earlier supplementary, I said that applicants to rent tribunals can make their applications at their local council offices and get their forms there. The tribunal will go to the applicants and not the applicants to the tribunal.