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Private Building

Volume 498: debated on Tuesday 1 April 1952

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asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government if he is yet able to say how many local authorities have intimated their intention to apply 50 per cent. of their housing allocation to private licences; and if he will circulate a list of such authorities in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Housing and Local Government
(Mr. Ernest Marples)

This is a matter within the discretion of individual authorities. Information about houses licensed or approved for building by private builders by each authority is given each quarter in Appendix B to the Housing Return.

Does the hon. Gentleman realise that the policy which he and his friends are pursuing in this matter is driving thousands of people, particularly young married couples, to cynical despair? Is he aware that they are now beginning to realise that the first test is not the human need of their problem but the possession of capital resources?

I would draw the attention of the hon. Member to the circular which accompanied the authority to local authorities to increase their private enterprise licences, because in that circular my right hon. Friend drew attention to the fact that those licences should be given to those people with housing needs comparable to those on council house waiting lists.

May I ask the hon. Gentleman if he can repeat that assurance, that his Ministry is bringing no pressure whatever to bear on local authorities to utilise this power, that the matter is entirely one for their discretion, and that nothing will happen if they do not choose to use it?

I said in my original answer that it is entirely at the discretion of the local authority.


asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government whether, in order to speed the building of houses, he will permit those who wish to build their own and who possess all necessary building materials to do so without a licence.

With the increase which my right hon. Friend has made in the permitted ratio of licences to council houses, local authorities should be able to deal with any such cases on their merits.

Is my hon. Friend aware that the local authorities are not doing so? Is there any justification whatsoever for stopping a man who has building materials, acquired legitimately, on his site and is prepared to build his house with his own hands from doing so?

If my hon. Friend will send in the details to show that there are unemployed resources of materials and labour, the matter will be gone into.