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Housing.

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons on 13th March 1922.

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Mr. THOMSON:

There will be a great many more directly, because as your houses are completed, these men are coming on the streets and drawing unemployment pay. From the figures given to me a few weeks ago by the Ministry of Labour the number of men engaged on State housing has fallen by 38,000 in five months, and yet the Government suggest that they are using all the available labour in order to expedite and carry out the pledges they have made. From every town there comes a story of appalling overcrowding. In my own town last year a house to house canvas was made of 26,000 houses, and it was found that in the industrial area of the town over one-third of the population were living in a condition of overcrowding; while one-fifth of the population have no houses of their own, which means that one-fifth of the whole of the industrial population of Middlesbrough were joining at houses. There were two, three, four, five, and even six families in one house. In hundreds and thousands of cases there were people with only part of a house for their own use, and this is the time when the Government talk about stopping house building. How can you expect to have a decent population? How can you expect to have a healthy population, and how can you expect to have a moral population under such conditions?