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Slum Clearance, Birmingham

Volume 645: debated on Tuesday 25 July 1961

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asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government and Minister for Welsh Affairs what progress has been made with slum clearance in Birmingham since his visit to the city in mid-March.

Since my visit, I have confirmed thirty-one Birmingham slum clearance orders, comprising more than 1,000 houses. I understand that in the same period the corporation has demolished some 700 unfit houses and reconditioned a further 650.

What have you done about it since on 21st March—[Horn. MEMBERS: "Order."]

I am sorry, Mr. Speaker. I will put myself in order. What has the Minister done since he visited Small Heath in the middle of a by-election—for the purpose of ensuring that I did not come here—when he said that he had seen property in Birmingham such as he did not know existed, and that he thought that that sort of thing

"had come down years ago. It appals one that children should be playing around them. They have got to come down."
Since the sight which he saw at Small Heath appalled him—and I agree with that feeling—may I ask the right hon. Gentleman what emergency action he has taken since he returned to Westminster the next day to help Birmingham to get rid of its slums? Can he give us a guarantee that no reduction in slum clearance will be proposed later this afternoon?

I saw the property to which I was referring, not on that occasion, but on an earlier visit to Birmingham, in company with the Birmingham Corporation. Since then I have been giving the Birmingham Corporation all the help that I can, some of which is set out in the Answer to the hon. Gentleman's Question. I hope that Birmingham will press on with slum clearance.