HC Deb 09 June 1920 vol 130 cc393-4
60. Mr. MALONE

asked the Minister of Health whether the powers given to local authorities under the Housing and Town-Planning Act are sufficient to enable them to eliminate slum areas; and, if so, what steps are being taken to enforce these provisions?


I think that the powers under the Housing Acts are generally sufficient; but, as the hon. Member will appreciate, it is scarcely practicable to deal on a large scale with slum areas or to undertake the demolition of houses until much more has been done to meet the prevailing shortage of houses. Local authorities have been requested to proceed with the survey of the unhealthy areas in their districts and with the preparation of schemes in the most urgent cases. I will send the hon. Member a copy of a Manual on the subject which has been issued.

61. Mr. MALONE

asked the Minister of Health the extent of the slum areas, given in acreage, number of houses or number of rooms, which have been condemned as unfit for habitation since the creation of the Ministry of Health; the number of occupants so affected; and the numbers for whom new accommodation has been erected?


Since the creation of the Ministry of Health, local authorities have submitted for confirmation improvement schemes for areas comprising 10½ acres and 494 houses occupied by 2,938 persons of the working classes. New housing accommodation is proposed to be provided in connection with these schemes for 2,820 persons. These schemes are now being considered by my Department. I would also refer the hon. Member to the reply just given to his previous question.


Have any of these schemes been confirmed?


Several of them are being confirmed, but I cannot say how many. We do not propose to proceed with them until more of the existing shortage is dealt with.


Is not an acreage of 10½ a very small percentage indeed of slum areas in our industrial towns?


Of course it is, but schemes which are before us relate to vast areas of our slums. We cannot confirm orders until there is some prospect of sufficient additional accommodation to justify the demolition of these houses. We must do these things by stages.