HC Deb 12 February 1920 vol 125 cc201-3
19. Mr. A. T. DAVIES

asked the Minister of Health, how many building schemes have been approved to date; what number of houses have actually been built under these or other schemes since July last; and how many houses are now actually under erection in London and in the provinces under schemes sanctioned or otherwise?


Up to the 7th February 4,2 85 sites, comprising 35,250 acres, and 103,604 house plans included in 1,658 schemes, had been approved by my department. Tenders have been approved for the erection of 40,541 houses. On February 1st I had information as to the progress of house building in 7,446 of these cases of which 1,126 were in the Metropolitan Police District. The num- ber completed ready for occupation from July to February 1st was 246 and an additional 924 were completed except for plastering or painting. As regards building other than under the Housing Acts, I have information that 1,156 working-class houses have been completed by private enterprise since July last, but my information on this point is not complete.


Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that delay is due to the high prices of building material and profiteering, particularly in cement, and what steps is he taking with regard to cement which has risen three hundred per cent. within the last eight months?


I quite agree with my hon. Friend that those matters are of great importance in delaying numbers of authorities in making contracts, but my hon. Friend (Mr. McCurdy) is now presiding over a Committee of Inquiry into the subject which will be furnished with all the evidence I can possibly give it on the subject, but nevertheless greatly accelerated progress is being made now.


Is there a shortage due to a shortage of men?


It is not all a question of labour. I believe there is considerable presumptive evidence to show that prices are unduly kept up.

24. Mr. LUNN

asked the Minister of Health if he will state what was the number of houses completed during 1919 in the United Kingdom, and what was the average cost of the sites and of the buildings.


I have given the figures as to houses completed in my reply to the hon. Member for Lincoln. Housing in Scotland docs not come within purview of my department. Figures are not available to show the average cost of the sites and of the buildings in the case of those houses separately, but the average costs in the case of all the schemes which were approved during the year 1919 were £185 per acre for the sites, and, in the case of the buildings, £681 for non-parlour houses and £801 for the parlour-type houses, the average cost for the building of all houses being £741.


Can the right hon. Gentleman give any record as to the cost of sites in rural and urban districts respectively?


I can give full details if required.