Shortage

Oral Answers to Questions — Housing – in the House of Commons on 22nd October 1942.

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Photo of Mr Daniel Lipson Mr Daniel Lipson , Cheltenham

asked the Minister of Health what is the present estimate of the housing shortage?

Photo of Mr Ernest Brown Mr Ernest Brown , Leith

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.

Photo of Mr Daniel Lipson Mr Daniel Lipson , Cheltenham

Is it not the duty of my right hon. Friend to find out exactly under what conditions the people of this country are living now?

Photo of Mr Ernest Brown Mr Ernest Brown , Leith

I have vast masses of information about that, but my hon. Friend asked a specific Question, and to that I could not give an answer.

Photo of Mr Daniel Lipson Mr Daniel Lipson , Cheltenham

In view of the fact that all the local authorities have this information, would it not be a simple matter for my right hon. Friend to obtain it?

Photo of Mr Ernest Brown Mr Ernest Brown , Leith

It is not quite as simple as that. There are many considerations involved besides statistical facts about houses.

Photo of Viscount  Turnour Viscount Turnour , Horsham and Worthing

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?

Photo of Mr Ernest Brown Mr Ernest Brown , Leith

I am not sure that I can do so with precision, but I will give the House the fullest possible information at the earliest possible date.

Photo of Mr George Griffiths Mr George Griffiths , Hemsworth

Is the Minister giving any consideration to the question of the new entrants into the coalmining industry, as the mining villages are packed now, and if new entrants go there, what is to be done? It is time the Minister woke up.

Photo of Mr Ernest Brown Mr Ernest Brown , Leith

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.

Photo of Mr Daniel Lipson Mr Daniel Lipson , Cheltenham

asked the Minister of Health whether he has given further consideration to the unsatisfactory housing conditions in certain areas where the population has increased since the war and no new houses have been built; and what action he proposes to take in the matter?

Photo of Mr Ernest Brown Mr Ernest Brown , Leith

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.

Photo of Mr Daniel Lipson Mr Daniel Lipson , Cheltenham

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?

Photo of Mr Ernest Brown Mr Ernest Brown , Leith

There is not only that problem, but also the problem of Service men coming back from the Forces and young people who get married.

Photo of Mr Irving Albery Mr Irving Albery , Gravesend

Will my right hon. Friend bear in mind the number of blocks of flats and houses which have been almost completed?