Borough Extensions.

Oral Answers to Questions — Housing. – in the House of Commons on 1st March 1922.

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Photo of Mr William Lunn Mr William Lunn , Rothwell

38.

asked the Minister of Health how many persons are engaged on schemes of borough extensions in the Ministry of Health; how many have been so engaged and what has been the cost to the taxpayers during the last 12 months; and whether, in the interest of economy in local rates as well as in national expenditure, he will consider the desirability of dispensing with this section of his Department and suspending further consideration of such extension schemes for the next five years until the matter, as it concerns the whole country, has been inquired into by a Royal Commission?

Photo of Sir Alfred Mond Sir Alfred Mond , Swansea West

The examination of borough extension proposals forms part of the general work of one of the Departments of the Ministry, and there are no officers exclusively engaged on this work. In reply to the last part of the question, I am advised that I have no power to refuse, on general grounds, to entertain an application for the extension of its boundary properly made by the council of any borough.

Photo of Mr Arthur Barrand Mr Arthur Barrand , Pudsey and Otley

Does not the right hon. Gentleman consider that the time of these officials, which has been devoted to a considerable extent during the last few months, at any rate, to these extension schemes, would be better employed in helping smaller local authorities to improve their administration, rather than assisting or encouraging larger towns to absorb their smaller neighbours?

Photo of Sir Alfred Mond Sir Alfred Mond , Swansea West

It is the duty of my Department to examine these schemes, and the duty of my officials to go into them, both from the point of view of the larger and the smaller authorities, and the smaller authorities are just as much safeguarded by that examination as the larger ones.

Photo of Mr William Lunn Mr William Lunn , Rothwell

If the right hon. Gentleman is considering economy in local rates, will he take steps to see that economy is taken into account in this matter of borough extension costs?

Photo of Sir Alfred Mond Sir Alfred Mond , Swansea West

I have no power to interfere with borough extensions, or to stop local authorities from fighting their cases in the Committee rooms upstairs.