12 OCTOBER 1934, Page 3

Conservatives and Slum Properties It was rather disturbing to find

the Conservative Party Conference passing a resolution which, though verbally innocuous, was in spirit a defence of what Mr. Paul Springman described as "vested interests in slum property." No doubt there are cases in which orders under slum clearance schemes involve some hardship to the owner of houses. But the fact is that under the provisions of the existing law (with one exception, upon which no action has been taken) a house cannot be taken without compensation unless it is unfit for habita- tion. If it is unfit, the house is rightly held to have no value, and site value alone is paid. There is one occasional case of hardship to which Sir Hilton Young himself called attention—it occurs when a house having been repaired at the request of the local authority is subsequently condemned. The Minister promised to give consideration to that point—the only one on which the Conference could justly fasten. In the face of the Minister's strong presentation of a strong case, the passing of a resolution which appears to justify investment in slum property can only create the worst possible impression.