Shortage.

Oral Answers to Questions — Housing. – in the House of Commons on 17th May 1922.

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Mr. TREVELYAN THOMSON:

26.

asked the Minister of Health whether his attention has been drawn to a recent statement by His Honour Judge Parry that anyone who spends a morning in an urban county court knows that the house shortage is causing untold moral and physical ill-being; and, in view of the Government's pronouncement that they only contemplated a temporary check on their building programme until prices fell, will he now authorise local authorities in congested and overcrowded areas to build more houses, seeing that building costs are now down over 100 per cent.?

Photo of Sir Alfred Mond Sir Alfred Mond , Swansea West

My attention has not previously been drawn to the statement referred to. As regards further Government housing, I can add nothing to the replies already given to the hon. Member on the subject, but, as I stated recently, I shall be happy to entertain proposals from local authorities to build outside the State Assisted Scheme.

Mr. THOMSON:

Has the right hon. Gentleman considered whether any slight financial gain that may accrue through the delay is not more than compensated for by the moral and social harm done by the continuance of overcrowding?

Photo of Sir Alfred Mond Sir Alfred Mond , Swansea West

I do not see why the local authorities, whose primary duty it is to deal with these questions, should not begin to act on their own responsibility.

Mr. THOMSON:

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the rates of some local authorities are 20s. or 30s. in the £, and that they cannot afford to take over State responsibilities in regard to which the Prime Minister offered assistance at the last election?

Mr. THOMSON:

27.

asked the Minister of Health whether, in view of the conflicting statements made as to the shortage of housing accommodation, he will ascertain from local authorities the number of new houses they still require to prevent the excessive overcrowding at present existing in most industrial areas, and which according to all medical officers of health is prejudicial to the preservation of good health and morals?

Photo of Sir Alfred Mond Sir Alfred Mond , Swansea West

I have given oareful consideration to this suggestion, but I do not think there would be any advantage in obtaining a special return at the present time.

Captain COOTE:

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that this overcrowding occurs, not only in industrial areas, but also to a very considerable extent in agricultural areas?

Photo of Sir Alfred Mond Sir Alfred Mond , Swansea West

There has always been a considerable amount of overcrowding in this country, and I have no doubt that it exists in those areas.