HC Deb 25 May 1922 vol 154 cc1417-9
65. Mr. HANNON

asked the President of the Board of Trade what was the rent in marks before the War of a German artisan's dwelling generally similar to that which would have been let for 10s. a week, inclusive of rates, in this country; what, approximately, is the rent, inclusive of rates, of such a house in England to-day; and what is the rent of the corresponding German house to-day, respectively, in marks, and in sterling converted at the present rate of exchange and at the rate of exchange which represents the ratio between the level of wholesale prices in both countries?


I have been asked to reply. As the answer is lengthy, I will, with my hon. Friend's permission, circulate it in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Following is the answer:

London and Berlin Working Class Rents, 1914and 1922.

There is in Germany no system of local taxation based on the rental value of a dwelling, the bulk of the cost of local government being defrayed out of the proceeds of separate Income Tax levied by the local authority. While, therefore, the British artisan's rent comprises local rates, that of the German artisan does not. Before the War a working class rental so high as 10s. weekly (including rates) was rare in this country outside the London area, where a four-roomed dwelling was procurable at that figure. In Berlin before the War a skilled workman's flat very seldom exceeded three rooms (two living rooms and a kitchen). This is still the case. The average cubic content of a room in a typical tenement in Berlin is, however, appreciably greater than in a London dwelling of the same type. A comparison between a four-roomed dwelling in London and a three-roomed dwelling in Berlin may therefore be considered legitimate for present purposes.

Weekly Rent.
London (4-roomed dwelling):
In 1914 10s.*
In 1922 15s.*

Berlin (3-roomed dwelling with larger rooms):

In 1914 15†
In 1922 25.5†
*Calculated from figures supplied by town clerks and other officials of boroughs and urban districts in the London area.
†The present Berlin rent of 25,5 marks is obtained by increasing the pre-War rent by 70 per cent. (the maximum permissible under local regulations recently issued in pursuance of a law in force since the beginning of 1922).

But of the London worker's rent about 2s. 5d. in 1914, and about 4s. 8d. in 1922, consisted of rates. If therefore, the comparison he confined to the rent element in both cases it would be follows:

In 1914 7s. 7d.
In 1922 10s. 4d.

In 1914 15
In 1922 25.5

The rent of the Berlin dwelling to-day therefore,

(a) expressed in marks 25.5 marks
(b) expressed in sterling at the present rate of exchange 4¼d.
(c) at wholesale purchasing power parity