HC Deb 26 July 1922 vol 157 cc441-2

asked the Minister of Health whether he is aware that in the publication "Housing," the official organ of the Ministry of Health's Housing Department, issued on 10th May, 1920, it was stated that, according to the survey made by local authorities under the provisions of the Housing Act, 1919, their gross needs for houses were 851,885 and their net needs 796,514: and whether any subsequent survey has been made and, if so, with what result?

The MINISTER of HEALTH (Sir Alfred Mond)

I am aware of these figures. They were given upon a preliminary examination of the survey, and they must be read in the light of the reservations contained in the covering article in the publication referred to. As I have previously stated, I do not think there would be any advantage in calling for a further survey by local authorities at the present time.


Can the right hon. Gentleman say on what grounds he discredits these figures—be has several times said that they are not reliable—if he has had no survey taken since?


You have to look into the figures, and see on what basis 300,000 houses- were put down as unfit. It is a matter of argument how many houses are fit or unfit. With regard to questions of effective demand, I do not want to enter into controversy at the present time, but a great deal can be said on the question of what effective demand means. It depends very much upon the figures put. down by the local authority and the medical officer of health.


Does not the right hon. Gentleman think that the local authorities know their own business and their needs better than he does?


It depends on whether the local authority or somebody else is paying for it.


is this not a question of how much money people have, and what they are prepared to pay for houses, rather than a matter of counting heads? If it is a question of counting heads, we are shorter of motor cars than of houses.

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