§ 34. Sir W. DAVISON
asked the Minister of Health what was the total amount of the estimates supplied by the Ministry to the council of the Royal borough of Kensington in connection with the acquisition of houses in that borough and their conversion into flats and maisonnettes under the recent housing legislation; what was the actual cost found to have been incurred on the completion of the said conversions; and, if in excess of the estimated cost, by how much were such estimates exceeded?
§ Sir A. MOND
The total of the estimates for the acquisition and conversion of houses into flats was £39,245. The 994 actual cost on completion was £83,415, the excess being £44,170. I understand that the excess was mainly due to the fact that when the houses were opened up for the purpose of carrying out the conversion, a very large amount of repair to the structure of the houses, which could not be foreseen, was found to be necessary. The remainder of the excess was due to increases in the cost of wages and materials, and to variations found necessary in the scheme after the estimate was made.
§ Sir W. DAVISON
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the local authority protested to the Ministry, with regard to a number of these houses, that they were quite unsuitable for conversion, and does he not think it scandalous that they-should be forced to convert houses which involve them in an excess above the estimate of over £44,000?
§ Sir A. MOND
The hon. Baronet must be aware that it does not involve the local authority in anything more than a 1d. rate. It is the unfortunate taxpayer who will have to provide it. We were very much pressed at that time by local authorities to provide this accommodation.