HC Deb 15 May 1911 vol 25 cc1625-6

asked the President of the Local Government Board if his attention has been called to a recent report of the Medical Officer of Health for Brackley, in South Northamptonshire, which states that there is a want of decent cottages for labourers; that at present the labourers are compelled to live in old, cramped, and dirty dwellings; that the Medical Officer of Health has been calling attention to this state of things since 1891; that there is plenty of money in the hands of small investors, who would build cottages if only land could be obtained at a reasonable price; and, if so, what steps he proposes to take to enable the local authority to obtain land at the value at which it is assessed for local rates?


My attention has been drawn to the report referred to, and I have addressed a communication to the town council at Brackley on the subject, pressing on them the necessity of further considering the question of providing houses under Part III. of the Housing of the Working Classes Act, 1890. The Housing, Town Planning, etc., Act,]909, effected important amendments designed to facilitate the compulsory acquisition of land by local authorities for the purpose of the erection by them of houses for the working classes, and it has not been shown that the existing powers under that Act are not sufficient to meet all ordinary circumstances?


Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the Northamptonshire County Council Education Committee reported some time ago that when they wanted to buy land in this district for building a school the price demanded was at the rate of £14,000 for six acres, whereas the land was rated at £4 per acre?


I am sorry the price demanded was so unreasonable, but I am not surprised. The acquisition of land for housing purposes is provided for in the Act passed a few years ago, and if the locality is willing, I believe something can be done in this direction.


Is there any chance of getting the land at a cheap rate until the valuation is completed?


No; but that is no reason why we should not do our best in the meantime.


Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that in the town of Llanelly a Radical landowner will not sell land at any price?


Will he send down one of the inspectors to inquire into the conditions of this village?


I have made investigation into that statement and it is not true.


It is true.