Oral Answers to Questions — Housing (Rural Workers) Act.

– in the House of Commons on 6th May 1929.

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Photo of Sir Percy Hurd Sir Percy Hurd , Devizes

asked the Minister of Health what steps he proposes to take to induce local authorities to make fuller use of the Housing (Rural Workers) Act for the better housing of agricultural labourers?

Photo of Sir Kingsley Wood Sir Kingsley Wood , Woolwich West

The latest figures indicate that progress continues to be made. The total numbers of houses in respect of which assistance was promised under the Act were 1,033 on 30th September, 1928, 1,316 on 31st December, 1928, and 1,594 on 31st March, 1929. My right hon. Friend is, however, not satisfied that full use is being made of the provisions of the Act, and in the event of further applications being made to him by rural district councils to be made the operative authority for their area, he would have to consider such applications in the light of the progress hitherto made under the county council. In my right hon. Friend's opinion, which is confirmed by experience, the best results are obtained where the county council, acting as the authority under the Act, maintains the closest relations with the district councils and where the officers of the respective authorities co-operate harmoniously in carrying out its provisions.

Photo of Sir Percy Hurd Sir Percy Hurd , Devizes

Will any steps be taken to communicate that satisfactory reply to the rural district councils or to their Association?

Photo of Sir Kingsley Wood Sir Kingsley Wood , Woolwich West

I hope that sufficient publicity will be given to the reply, but I will ask my right hon. Friend to consider it.

Photo of Sir Basil Peto Sir Basil Peto , Barnstaple

Is it not a fact that the county of Devon are the most progressive in this matter, and will the right hon. Gentleman take steps to bring other councils into line?

Photo of Sir Robert Thomas Sir Robert Thomas , Anglesey

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the best county in this respect is the county which I represent?

Photo of Mr Frederick Montague Mr Frederick Montague , Islington West

Are the figures which the right hon. Gentleman quoted separate?

Photo of Sir Kingsley Wood Sir Kingsley Wood , Woolwich West

Yes. I hope that the hon. Baronet the Member for Anglesey (Sir R. Thomas) accordingly values this Act, for which I did not notice any particular enthusiasm on his part.

Photo of Sir Robert Thomas Sir Robert Thomas , Anglesey

Is the right hon. Gentleman also aware that the greatest urgency in this matter is to return a Liberal Government at the next Election?