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Then why do they not build the 700? They cannot build what I ask them to. There are over 25,000 approved houses of local authorities in this country which have not been begun. I spoke at a deputation the other day in connection with unemployment, and said that I would see if I could not provide some employment on housing work. Here are these houses not begun, and perhaps hon. Members will find out why they have not been begun. It is not a question of our re-commencing a building programme which has been stopped. Hon. Members speak as if there was no building going on, and as though the whole building programme of the Government had come to an end. We have completed already a relatively small part of our 176,000 houses, and one reason they are not getting finished is that we cannot secure the plasterers. I would like to read to the Committee a letter from the Deputy-Chairman of the Manchester Housing Committee. He does not want more houses; he wants more plasterers. He says:
The scheme was begun in July, 1919. There are now 2,020 men engaged on the scheme, of whom 195 are plasterers Altogether 2,000 houses have been begun, of which 890 are finished. Of the remainder, 1,137 are roofed in, 364 are awaiting plasterers, and have been in some cases for six months.
I am told there are unemployed plasterers! Why do not you get them into Manchester?