§ MR. H. C. LEA (St. Pancras, E.)
I beg to ask the President of the Local Government Board whether he is aware that the St. Pancras Borough Council refuses to present for the consideration of the Central (Unemployed) Body for 280 London any work which is adequate to the needs of the large number of unemployed in that borough; and whether he has any means of putting pressure on that local authority to ensure that works such as an alteration from low pressure to 440 volt net-work shall not be sent up as a complete discharge of the authority's obligations.
§ MR. JOHN BURNS
I am informed that the borough council have never refused to present for the consideration of the Central (Unemployed) Body any work which they deemed to be of practical utility and needing to be done, and which could be carried out by unemployed persons coming within the regulations. I understand that a special committee of the council are reporting to them to-day and recommending that a considerable amount of additional work shall be put in hand at once, provided that the Central Body will defray the cost of the unskilled labour, the council paying the cost of the supervision and materials.
§ MR. H. C. LEA
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the work proposed to be done by the borough council is work which should have been done long ago, and will have to be done irrespective of unemployment?
§ MR. JOHN BURNS
I do not think I can be held responsible for the dilatory conduct of borough councils which in the past have not put in hand the work they should have done, and for which they are responsible to the ratepayers. If they are willing to make reparation now by submitting schemes I can approve of I shall be willing to act. I have already sanctioned a housing scheme, on which £19,000 will be spent, and I trust the borough council will at once proceed with it.