HC Deb 10 June 1913 vol 53 cc1426-7

asked the President of the Local Government Board whether he will lay upon the Table of the House the Report of Mr. Williams, the inspector of the Local Government Board who investigated in South Wales the condition of the houses inhabited by those in receipt of outdoor relief, and which was made in consequence of communications addressed to the Board by members of the late Poor Law Commission after they had visited the district?


If the hon. Member would like to read the Report I will let him see it, or send him a copy, but I should deprecate its publication after a period of six years, during which a good deal has been done to remove the conditions described. So far as it relates to housing, the Report is mainly concerned with Merthyr Tydvil and Swansea. In both these places considerable improvements have been made in the last few years. Loans amounting to upwards of £110,000 have been sanctioned for the erection of houses, under Part III. of the Housing of the Working Classes Act, 1890. Some 520 houses have been erected by the local authorities, and further building is in prospect. There has also been considerable activity in the removal of in sanitary conditions and the enforcement of repairs and improvements. In addition to the action of the authorities, private enterprise has, I understand, erected about 4,000 houses in the past six years.


Are we to understand from the right hon. Gentleman's apologia that this Report is of a peculiarly damning character?


This is not an apologia. It is an answer to a definite question. It is most satisfactory as a record of improvement as indicated by the fact that in the six years infant mortality has diminished 36 per cent, and the general death rate by 28 per cent.