asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government whether he will make a statement about the composition and purpose of the proposed working party to consider the future of property requisitioned by local authorities.
The working party comprises representatives of the associations of local authorities, the London County Council and my Ministry. Its terms of reference are to review the arrangements for emergency accommodation which have been continued in England and Wales since the end of the war, and to report on the measures necessary for relieving the central Government from financial responsibility for the housing of families in requisitioned premises at an early date.
Will the right hon. Gentleman give an assurance not to put financial or other pressure on local authorities compelling them either to increase rents paid by the occupants of requisitioned property or to hand this requisitioned property back to private landlords, since both would have the most serious consequences?
I have arranged for this matter to be inquired into as a result of most friendly discussions with the local authorities and the London County Council, and it would be better to await their report.
Will the Minister give an assurance that the hon. and gallant Member for Brixton (Lieut.-Colonel Lipton) will not be a member of that working party?
asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government whether his attention has been drawn to the letter from the Town Clerk of Newcastle-under-Lyme to the secretary of his Department indicating that Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council is opposed to the withdrawal of requisitioning powers for housing purposes under present circumstances; what reply he intends to make; and whether he will now reconsider his policy in this respect.
I have received the Town Clerk's letter. It relates to a warning I gave local authorities that wartime arrangements still in force must gradually be brought to an end. The associations of local authorities have all agreed to join the working party set up to advise me on ways and means. I cannot say more until the working party has reported.