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LONDON, July 20. Local authorities throughout Britain have been given power to ' requisition empty houses for I immediate use, under an order I issued to-day by the Minister of i Health, Mr. Willink. | Previously this power could be exercised only after the approval of the Ministry of Health had been obtained, and reasonable opportunity given to the owner or tenant, before , requisitioning, to let or occupy an ' empty house. j A second important order, which will help to speed up housing accommodation, extends the amount of money which private owners and tenants can spend in putting houses in repair. < During the war this sum could not exceed £100, but this amount may now be exceeded. Victory for "Vigilantes" The Government's decision to cut the red tape which has been holding up the requisitioning of empty houses for homeless families is generally regarded as a victory for the "Vigilantes," who, since the movement was started at Brighton recently, have been taking direct action to make empty houses available. Explaining the new orders, the Ministry of Health states that with these additional powers local authorities will be helped to secure local co-ordination of housing work, and to carry out the biggest programme with the labour and other resources available :in their areas. This urgent and essential work includes the building of new houses by local councils and by private enterprise, and the carrying out of repair, maintenance and improvement works which are essential, or which produce additional units of family accommodation. The new orders will also speed up the repair of war-damaged and uninhabitable houses.

Nearly 90,000 Already Taken Over

At the same time the Ministry adds a word of caution to people seeking housing accommodation.

"It should be emphasised," the Ministry says, "that while these extending powers should be of considerable assistance to local authorities, in their efforts to make fullest use of what accommodation is available, people in search of housing accommodation should not expect any substantial additional amount of requisitioned property to be immediately forthcoming.

"Nearly 90,000 houses have already been taken over, and the number of unoccupied houses which are habitable or suitable without extensive work on them being required is now comparatively small."

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Bibliographic details

EMPTY HOUSES, Auckland Star, Volume LXXVI, Issue 174, 25 July 1945

Word Count

EMPTY HOUSES Auckland Star, Volume LXXVI, Issue 174, 25 July 1945

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