Junior Civil Servants (Lodgings, London)

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

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Mr. Graham White:

asked the Minister of Health whether his attention has been drawn to the difficulties experienced by junior civil servants, on returning to London from the provinces, in obtaining lodgings at a price which it is within their capacity to pay; and whether he will cause an inquiry to be made with a view to the removal of this difficulty?

Photo of Mr Ernest Brown Mr Ernest Brown , Leith

I am aware that some difficulties have been experienced, but my officers, in conjunction with the local authorities and various voluntary agencies, are making every effort to find suitable accommodation at reasonable prices in hostels and lodgings for these officers. I understand that the officers who have already returned to London are now satisfactorily accommodated, and I anticipate that it will be possible to make suitable arrangements for those yet to come. I am glad to take this opportunity of expressing my appreciation of the valuable assistance which is being afforded in this matter by the Women's Voluntary Services and the authorities of various hostels.

Mr. White:

May I appeal to my right hon. Friend to make a further inquiry without delay, because, having regard to the fact that many of these juniors are only paid 35s. to 40s. a week it is impossible to get respectable lodgings?

Photo of Mr Ernest Brown Mr Ernest Brown , Leith

My information is that some 700 lodgings have been found at 15s. a week for furnished rooms.

Photo of Sir Percy Harris Sir Percy Harris , Bethnal Green South West

Is it not a fact that there is a real famine in London for unfurnished rooms, and will my right hon. Friend concentrate his mind on making inquiries throughout London as to what is really happening?

Photo of Mr Ernest Brown Mr Ernest Brown , Leith

It is happening in other places than London.

Photo of Mr William Brown Mr William Brown , Rugby

Does the right hon. Gentleman realise that the Government must in this situation do one of three things: either increase the very low wages of the girls; or increase the subsistence allowance they are given; or, thirdly——

Photo of Lieut-General Edward Fitzroy Lieut-General Edward Fitzroy , Daventry

The hon. Member is now giving the answer to the Question he has put.