HC Deb 19 November 1908 vol 196 cc1383-4
MR. KENDAL O'BRIEN (Tipperary, Mid)

To ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland whether he is aware that the Local Government Board for Ireland issued an Order, entitled the Roscrea (No. 1) Rural District Labourers (Unopposed) Order, 1907, which authorised the building of thirty-nine labourers' cottages under the Labourers (Ireland) Acts, 1883 to 1906; that the council of the Roscrea (No. 1) Rural District, on 14th October last, decided to apply to, and did subsequently apply to, the Local Government Board for sanction to a loan of £7,430 to acquire the necessary land and build the thirty-nine cottages authorised by the Order mentioned, the loan being at the rate of £190 10s. 3d. per cottage and plot; and, seeing that the loan is based on prices for building, fencing, and other expenses approved by the Local Government Board, and for land at prices fixed by the arbitrator appointed by the said Board, will he explain why the Local Government Board have written to the said rural district council sanctioning a loan of £6,825 only, being at the rate of £175 per cottage; is he aware that this decision of the Board practically blocks the working of the Labourers Acts in this rural district, where the labourers are living in houses condemned as unfit for human habitation, and are living in misery waiting the provision of suitable and sanitary dwellings under the Labourers Acts; and, under these circumstances, will he arrange that the necessary sanction will be given to the full amount of the loan, which is the lowest possible sum at which these cottages and plots can be provided.

(Answered by Mr. Birrell.) The facts are as stated in the Question. The loan which the Local Government Board have sanctioned is £5 per cottage above the usual amount. Should it prove insufficient, the Board will consider the propriety of authorising the district council to obtain a supplemental loan in the open market. The Board are anxious to provide as many cottages and plots as possible out of the limited fund available for the purpose and cannot, therefore, sanction loans at high rates to some district councils to the prejudice of others having equal claims.