11 MAY 1929, Page 3

Slum Clearance and Compensation A Unionist Government is popularly supposed

to rely for a considerable part of its support on small property-holders. Yet in its ordinances for slum clearance the Ministry of Health has been guilty of a flagrant disregard of the interests of just this class. The 1925 Act (section 46) endorsed previous legislation whereby local authorities had power to purchase all property in insanitary areas without paying any compensation other than the actual site values. This hardly seems to square with the De Keyser judgment in the Courts that the Crown may not expropriate private property for public purposes without compensation, and it has certainly checked action in many cases. Drastic State action is, however, defensible on grounds of equity and expediency, where slum-owners have notoriously failed to do their duty. But what of those who are blameless ? At present they suffer with the others. We ar* glad to see Mr. Neville Chamberlain's statement that the Government recognize the enormity of this injustice and regard themselves as pledged to remedy it.