I regret that I cannot indicate with precision the extent of the shortage at the present time. My hon. Friend will, however, appreciate that in any case it is not possible under existing conditions to provide new accommodation but I can assure him that a start will be made with what will clearly be a very big programme immediately the labour and materials can be made available for the purpose.
Is not my right hon. Friend aware that this matter may have very considerable bearing on the appalling increase in tuberculosis, in view of the overcrowding which goes on, and will he not at the earliest possible, date provide the figures for which he has been asked?
There is no need to tell me that. We are very busy on this problem, but, as hon. Members know, building labour is employed on very great strategic matters. It is not only mining that is concerned. The agricultural industry has its needs, too.
Yes, Sir, I am constantly reviewing problems of accommodation in consultation with the local authorities concerned, so as to ensure the best use of existing accommodation and such measure of amelioration as is possible under present conditions.
Will my right hon. Friend bear in mind that the wives and families of many of the men serving in the Forces are living in most deplorable conditions and that this must be having a very serious effect on morale?