§ Order read for resuming Adjourned Debate on Amendment to Question [24th April], "That the Bill be now read a Second time."
Which Amendment was to leave out from the word "That," to the end of the Question, and to add instead thereof the words
this House cannot assent to the Second Reading of a Bill which is inadequate to deal with the present housing shortage, ignores the difficulty of land purchase and transfer, fails to provide the means of securing a sufficient supply of building materials at reasonable prices; throws an excessive financial burden upon local authorities and interferes unnecessarily with their administrative powers, fails to reduce the burden of interest imposed upon dwelling-houses by the present financial system, and provides only for an unreasonably small type of house."—[Mr. Wheatley.]
§ Question again proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question."
§ Sir J. SIMON
Unlike the Labour party my Friends and I have not tabled a Motion to reject this Bill on its Second Reading. That is not because we are satisfied with the Bill as it stands, but because the Bill is so framed as to be capable of extensive amendment, and the rejection at this stage of this Bill outright, when no other or broader measure can immediately take its place, will necessarily aggravate the situation and delay still further the dealing with a problem that is already overdue. It seems to me that the House has no right seriously to contemplate the rejection of this Bill on Second Reading merely because it is not a complete or adequate scheme, unless, by rejecting it at this stage, we hasten the carrying into law of some better and fuller scheme. As things are, that plainly is not so, and, therefore, I do not myself think that resistance to the carrying of this Bill to Second Reading is justified. There has already been, by common admission, so much delay in dealing with this difficult subject that any action which would really result in further delay being incurred is action which, I think, puts a very heavy responsibility upon those who propose it. I, 512 therefore, rise merely to put, quite briefly, two or three considerations which occur to us in reference to the right hon. Gentleman's Bill.
First, I would say that the fundamental test of any Housing Bill, as I think the Minister of Health will agree, must be this: Will the Bill, after suitable amendments have been made, help to build the houses? That is really the fundamental test. Will the Bill place those houses in the occupation of the people whom the Bill is intended to help, and will it do so at rents which those people are able to pay? That must be the test, especially at a difficult time like this, of any Housing Bill. If the Bill does not satisfy that test, then it is right to reject it, but if it may satisfy that test, then it seems to me that we ought, without undue delay, to get to the business of considering its provisions, and I will only add this on that question. If the Bill will not satisfy the test as to whether it is calculated to produce houses then it is no satisfaction to say that it is a Bill which carefully safeguards the interests of the British taxpayer or does something to stimulate private enterprise. This is the simple test: Does the Bill, with such Amendments as we may hope to see, promote the production of the houses?
The Minister yesterday pointed out the contrast between this Bill and the scheme which goes by the name of Dr. Addison. Both schemes proceed on the basis of a partnership between the State, on the one hand, and the local authorities, on the other, but this new proposal is a proposal of limited liability for the State, and undefined and, indeed, unmeasured responsibility on the part of the local authorities, and I think it is a matter for very serious consideration whether that change of plan, which defines and limits the State contribution and which leaves the liability of the local authorities quite unmeasured, is really a plan which is going to produce the houses. Applying the crucial test, it must be admitted, in reference to the Addison scheme, that, whatever its defects may have been, that scheme, before it was cut off in 1921, was in a fair way to provide large numbers of houses. The defects of the scheme became, of course, as time went on, very obvious. There was very great delay in getting the machine into motion, there was an immense complica- 513 tion of bureaucratic control and supervision, and, as things turned out, for reasons for which I do not think Dr. Addison is entirely to be blamed, the cost that was involved turned out to be something perfectly prodigious, but since Dr. Addison is sometimes treated, in these days, as a gentleman who is a safe and sure target for any brick that is not needed as building material, it is, I think, only fair and just to remember that, whatever were the defects of his scheme, and however impossible it may have been to continue it, it was a scheme which was producing houses.
He started in the days when the enthusiasm for homes for heroes completely drowned any financial anxiety, and he was cut off, in full career, at a time when the fears of expenditure overruled and obliterated these loftier and finer conceptions, and indeed caused a great many people to forget the promises that they had made. Nobody can go through the English countryside to-day without seeing in nearly every village some houses that have been erected under the 1919 Act. I think I am right in saying that some 5,000 villages and towns actually contain what I may call Addison houses, and that nearly 1,400 local authorities built under the Addison plan, and if you include the houses built in Scotland, and add them to the 176,000 that were built or approved when the axe fell, it is true to say of the Addison scheme, that it produced something like 200,000 houses, providing housing accommodation, I suppose, for, it may be, 1,000,000 of the population. I mention that, because it seems to me that when, under this new Bill, we reverse the partnership and say that the contribution of the State is to be fixed and limited and measured, and that the balance of loss, whatever that balance may be, is to fall upon the local authorities, it is a very serious and a very practical question to consider whether that method is going to produce the houses.
I quite agree that there is no prospect whatever of reviving the Addison scheme, and, indeed, the House of Commons is bound, on reflection, to object to unlimited commitment of the State side by side with a strictly limited commitment of the local authorities. The real defect of the Addison 514 scheme was that, while you had financial responsibility here at the centre, you had the determination of the scope and character of the work at the circumference, and that, of course, meant an enormous army of officials. I was kindly furnished to-day with two sets of figures which I think are very illuminating on the point. It appears that on 1st January, 1921, when the Addison scheme was in full blast, the number of the staff of the Ministry of Health engaged on housing and town planning amounted to no fewer than 1,136 persons, and they cost £402,766 a year. The House can contrast that with two other figures with which I have been provided. The figures at the beginning of the present month for the corresponding staff were 238 persons, costing the not unsubstantial sum of £100,448 a year. Therefore, I ask the attention of the House very briefly to two or three considerations which bear upon the question. Is the limitation of the State contribution, accompanied by an unlimited liability on the part of the local authorities, likely really to produce the houses?
First, it may be said—and I think the right hon. Gentleman probably will urge the point—that, at any rate, the local authorities now, to-day, have become accustomed to the responsibility and the interest which they recently took in the housing problem. Before 1919 there were very few local authorities, I think, that actually undertook housing provision. Under the Act of 1919, of course, it was their duty to survey their district and to prepare schemes—and there was very effective provision in the Act to make them do it—and 75 per cent. of the local authorities did, in fact, prepare schemes and build. Another point is that, as a result of what has gone before, though there has now been a shutting off of the further housing schemes, nearly every local authority has got its housing committee. It has got members who have, by recent interest and consideration, got a very practical knowledge of the needs of their district and a great desire to see them supplied. That, I think, is a new fact, and one of great importance, encouraging for the new Bill. They have bought land which, as it turned out in many cases, they have not yet been able to use. They have had the extreme aggravation of finding schemes which they have spent an immense amount of time 515 in preparing rendered abortive by the shutting down of the earlier provision, and it may therefore be said that, at any rate, the new Bill approaches local authorities who have been, by recent years' experience, trained to the point where they will be anxious to co-operate if they can, and who are well qualified to express a judgment on the matter in view of the survey of the area which they have made.
I come to the next point. Is a single flat rate of £6 per house for 20 years for the country, for the great municipalities, for the smaller municipalities, for the rural areas—of Scotland, as well as England—really a satisfactory way in which to get the houses produced, so far as the local authorities are concerned? I only pause to say in a sentence that one cannot help feeling the force of the observation made by the right hon. Member for Swansea (Sir A. Mond) last night, when he said it would be rather better if it were £4 spread over 60 years, which I do not think involves a further burden, because, at any rate, in the case of the smaller authorities, it is surely a great convenience to authorities not accustomed to deal with great financial problems to get the State contribution spread over the number of years which is the period with which they are principally concerned in reference to their loans, and 60 years is the period for the loan in respect of construction. I want to go further than that. The right hon. Gentleman, no doubt, has been consulting some of the great provincial municipalities, and I have no doubt has received the most experienced help from them, but does it follow that because his flat rate of £6 per house for 20 years may be thought to be satisfactory, say, by Manchester, it will be satisfactory for areas of a very different kind?
Take the case of a house, which, in a rural district, would let for 5s. a week, I do not think I am wrong when I say that such a house in a great municipality might easily let for 7s. 6d. a week. It is not that the house will necessarily be cheaper to build in the rural area than in the great municipality. I doubt very much whether it would be asserted that the actual cost of producing a house varies correspondingly, and yet when you say you have consulted the local authorities, and the local authorities are satisfied 516 with the provision of £6 a house for 20 years, are you really not consulting authorities who look forward to receiving the higher figure of rent, which is a good deal less than will be received by the rural authorities throughout the country? In those circumstances, may it not well be that you will have to revise your scheme, at any rate, to get some adjustment of your figure, having regard to the different positions of different authorities? One learnt last night that that is a view widely held in Scotland, and, as I see the hon. and gallant Member the Parliamentary tinder-Secretary to the Scottish Board of Health in his place, may I say with what admiration everybody heard his most amusing and brilliant speech last night? if I might venture one criticism it would be this: He corruscated with such dazzling effect that for the time being—but only for the time being—he concealed this obvious fact, that the real reason why the Government will not have a Scottish Bill is because, if they had a Scottish Bill, and it went to the Scottish Grand Committee, with the representation of Scotland such as it is at this moment, the Bill would come out of that Committee so altered that its own parents would not recognise it. All the brilliance of my hon. and gallant Friend cannot in the end conceal that obvious explanation.
Lastly, I want on this head to put this point to the Minister. Is it not the case that the flat rate of £6 per house for 20 years is really going to involve a much heavier burden on the poor area with a small rateable value, than it will place on the rich area with a high rateable value? That was not true under the Addison scheme, because you had the product of the penny rate more or less. But, under this scheme, supposing you have two authorities, each of which requires 100 houses, and, therefore, each of which will get out of the Government scheme a subsidy of £600 per year for 20 years, it may very well be that the two areas, in making up their contribution, even though the actual amount of money to be provided is the same in the two cases, will have to exact from their ratepayers a widely different contribution and impose a far heavier rate in one area than in the other because of the low rateable value? That is a practical point of which we all have experience in connection with education. There you have a subsidy from the Exchequer, combined with the 517 product of the local rate, and, so serious has that difficulty been found that in the case of the subsidy for education you have had to deal specially with necessitous areas, and adopt a very elaborate formula, in order to secure that you shall not, by the mere administration of a flat rate, without regard to the character of the authority, put a burden upon the ratepayer in an area of small rateable value which is more than he can possibly bear.
I have assumed, for the purpose of my illustration, that the two areas only want the same number of houses, but surely it often happens that a place with a relatively small rateable value will none the less have a greater housing need than some areas occupied by people with houses of different size and sort, the rateable value of which may be high. Therefore, I submit, will not your scheme of a single flat rate have to be carefully revised, so as to make it suit the varying needs of authorities of different resources? I notice in this connection that when the Minister comes to Subsection (3) of Clause 1, and provides for assistance in connection with the clearing of slum areas, he adopts a different principle—the principle of proportionate contribution as between the local authority and the Exchequer. I do not say that that system can be properly adopted in connection with the houses, but I do suggest to the right hon. Gentleman it would be well worth while to consider whether some much more careful formula must not be adopted in order to secure the provision of houses by local authorities in rural areas and by local authorities where there is a low rateable value, beyond that which he has got at present.
Secondly, may I make a reference to the Minister's proposals to stimulate private enterprise under Clause 2? He has got three proposals. The second of the three proposals is the interesting proposal of allowing the local authority to make a contribution in lieu of rates. The third proposal is one which, I think, the whole House will accept, and it is a-proposal which I should have thought might even have been extended. May I ask the right hon. Gentleman why it is that in dealing with the third method of stimulating private enterprise, which at present involves a contribution, he does not extend Sub-section (3) to cover purchases under the Small 518 Dwellings (Acquisition) Act, 1899? It is referred to elsewhere in the Bill, and we all remember with pleasure that the eight hon. Gentleman has a special reason for being interested in that Measure. I should like to know why it is he does not extend Sub-section (3) so as to bring in the Small Dwellings (Acquisition) Act as well. I come to the first of his three provisions, and it does seem to me to be open to very serious criticism, indeed. Here is a proposal to give a lump sum subsidy, and I want to know whether I am not right on these two or three points about it. First of all, with one single exception, I cannot find in the Bill, as drafted, any conditions that are imposed on the person who receives that subsidy as to the use which is going to be made of the house which he builds, or, indeed, as to the kind of house which he builds. There is one exception, and it is a very curious one. It has been suggested, perhaps, by the melancholy experience of the second of the two Housing Bills for which Dr. Addison was responsible, which provided a subsidy, originally £160, and later on £250, which could be given to the private builder. I do not know whether the story is true, but I have been told that a gentleman who observed the language of the Housing (Additional Powers) Act, 1919, and applied himself strictly to the language of the law, without any regard to the real intention of Parliament, first of all built a small house and got a subsidy of £250. He then built another small house, and got another subsidy of £250 for that. The two houses were so close together that he subsequently knocked down the wall between them and united them into one, and thereby got a substantial private dwelling, with the gratifying assistance of £500 from the public Exchequer. Whether that be true or not, I do not know, but what I observe is that the only condition which this Bill appears to impose upon the recipient of the lump sum subsidy is this. It is in Sub-section (4), which imposes the conditionthat during the period of five years from the payment of the grant the house shall not be used otherwise than as a separate dwelling-house and that no addition thereto or enlargement thereof shall be made.I rather wonder whether it is not the right hon. Gentleman's advisers who think that that hole, at any rate, ought 519 to be stopped if there is going to be any more subsidy to the private builder. There is a further question. Under the Bill as it stands—will the Minister be good enough to let me have an answer to this—could not the local authority use the State subsidy for subsidising builders without incurring any responsibility themselves as local authorities? In other words, what steps do the Government propose to take to secure that the local authorities shall have to make a substantial contribution? Obviously, it is a wasteful and a most undesirable method of stimulating house-building simply to give the State subsidy into the hands of the local authority without any conditions being imposed. Lastly, this lump sum subsidy is open to this objection. It is a method which helps the man who is building with a view to selling. What guarantee do we get under the Bill that he will build the kind of house which is most needed, or provide it for the sort of occupier who needs a house most? In contrast to that, of course, the other provisions under the head of stimulating private enterprise are provisions which do not assist the man who is trying to sell a house, but on the other hand, assist the man who is trying to build a house, or buy a house, or occupy a house, which I venture to think, is a much more desirable operation.
Another point I desire to raise is this. A curious—I think, much the most curious—provision of the Bill which the right hon. Gentleman explained so ingeniously yesterday, is the provision for securing the right kind of occupier in these State houses, by securing that the State houses are not too big. It is a most amazing method of proceeding, Everyone agrees you do want to secure that the right occupiers get the opportunity of using these houses, but it would be a most melancholy thing if Government houses, like Government beer and Government bacon, came to be understood to mean something which is rather below the standard which one would wish for and expect. More than that, it is really a very retrograde proposal. The Addison scheme, whatever else it did, actually improved housing standards. I cannot see why the Minister ought not, and I hope he will, accept an Amendment which would allow the local authorities, at any 520 rate if they wish, to have the liberty to build better houses. We have got local authorities' housing committees all over the country who have learned to entertain a proper pride as to the housing newly provided in their own areas, and it would be a most disastrous thing if, instead of this liberty, these were compelled to build on a lower standard by being penalised in respect of the assistance given to them because they would not comply with your national requirements. I might add this, we all hope—and I am not talking in the spirit and language of rhetoric, for this is a serious matter—everybody in the House hopes that in the years to come—the sooner the better—the whole standard of housing accommodation in this country may be raised. Might it not be that a far-sighted local authority will consider that if they start building these tiny houses now, that, as a matter of fact, they are not providing as good a security as if they provided a better house? I do most urgently press upon the Government that they ought so to change this Bill as not to penalise the local authorities who take that view, and are prepared to back it up, with the approval of their constituencies. We should allow the local authorities to have a discretion in the matter.
That would, as I have suggested, be quite in order on this Bill, which the Minister does not put forward as solving the problem, but as making a contribution only. If it really should evolve setting up an inferior standard from that which previous Bills have tried to set up, it would be a great pity. The Minister yesterday quoted figures from the London County Council, in which it was suggested that 80 per cent. of the people who wanted houses preferred to live in houses of two or three rooms. They do not. Nobody prefers that. All that that means is that if you put before people, who are hard-pressed, a schedule of different rents, there are a great many people who, because of circumstances, would be forced to pay the lower rent and take the smaller house. If you are going to put into the hands of the local authorities the right to control these rents or, at any rate, to say at what rent they intend to let houses, you ought to be careful not to lower the standard you are setting up. The right hon. Gentleman the Minister of Health spoke yesterday with some pride— 521 and he did so with right and justice—of his hereditary interest in the housing question. I am quite sure he would be the first to deplore the fact if the Bill, for which he is responsible, were to be known as the Bill which lowered the standard of housing set by previous Bills. We talk of the re-building of the social structure and all the rest of it, but the idea of the matter is, that the elements out of which we are going to reconstruct are the homes that the ordinary people live in. The analogy is quite a striking one, for just as you may say of a somewhat complicated living organism that it is built up of tiny cells, so in the same way with the national structure, you can say that it is really built up of the homes of the people. This cell—when you consider the complicated problem of life—may either be the focus of health and vigour or it may be the seed of disease and destruction. I really seriously suggest, ought we not so to change this Bill in the later stages as to secure that there shall not be a lowered standard of house construction, because if we do you may put forward what excuse you please as to the promotion of private enterprise, or the saving of public finance, but by lowering that standard of house construction, you are lowering and degrading the life and prejudicing the future of our people.
§ Sir PHILIP PILDITCH
The speech to which we have just listened from the right hon. Gentleman (Sir John Simon), and which has pleased the House—as do all his speeches—indicates that neither he nor the section of the Opposition, with which he is associated, propose to move an Amendment to the Bill. [HON. MEMBERS: "This is the Second Reading!"] But I am not at, all sure whether the three criticisms he has made on the Bill, or two of them, do not go even more to the very root of the Bill than the speeches to which we have listened from the other sections of the House who have moved Amendments. I desire to support the main principles of the Bill, and I desire to support certain principles of the Bill which my right hon. Friend has attacked. The first principle that he attacked in the Bill was the principle which alters the basis of Dr. Addison's Act, which was that there was to be a limited contribution by the local authority and an unlimited contribution 522 by the State. It is true that Dr. Addison's scheme might procure some houses, but the very principle to which the right hon. Gentleman referred just now contained within itself the root of the evil by which Dr. Addison's scheme came to an end. What happened? Dr. Addison's scheme was received by every Member of the House, when it was brought in, with acclamation. I was one of the very few who criticised it; I criticised the financial aspect. I pointed out then that the 6 millions, subsequently raised to £7,500,000 per annum, which was to be provided by the State, and which it was thought would provide 500,000 Louses, would not go very far in that direction. The consequence is that we have a State Bill of £10,000,000 a year, and this has provided something like 200,000 houses. That is the principle which caused the building scheme associated with the name of Dr. Addison to be withdrawn. I venture to suggest that it would be a mistake to alter the basis of this Bill. That the State should definitely say that it will provide a certain amount of money on condition that the local authority should find whatever remains to be found is a perfectly sound principle. The needs and resources of localities differ immensely, and it is much fairer and much more appropriate that any variation between the subsidy provided by the State and provided by the local authority should be found by the local authority.
I well remember going down to the opening of some of the houses that were built under Dr. Addison's scheme in company with an hon. Member, not the hon. Member for West Woolwich (Sir K. Wood), who then was acting as Parliamentary Secretary and had an interest in certain schemes, but another set of houses, at which ceremony I accepted the invitation of the chairman of the local authority to preside. In opening the houses that gentleman said—and he was then addressing the ratepayers—that these houses had cost them nothing, or that they were only costing them 1d. in the £, which meant only £200 or £300 upon the rates of that locality. But, added that chairman, these houses would actually cost a good deal more than £100,000, and the chairman half suggested, and the people seemed to think, that that State gift was money from heaven, so to speak. But it did not come from heaven. The Chancellor of the 523 Exchequer had to find that money, and he is continuing to find money of that sort. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Swansea (Sir A. Mond) said yesterday that the capitalised cost of Dr. Addison's scheme—I am not attacking Dr. Addison, for we all agreed with him at the time—the capitalised cost amounted to about £960,000,000. I do not quite know how the right hon. Gentleman got that amount on an annual loss of £10,000,000 for 60 years, and certainly there is an enormous capital burden lying upon the State, based upon this annual burden, and I for one think that the present Bill in this respect is sounder than that of the old Act.
My right hon. Friend opposite went into another point; he criticised that portion of the Bill which deals with private enterprise, and where there is power to give a lump sum subsidy to private builders. It is possible that that may be the least favourable part of the scheme. I think that some of the other provisions are better than that. Such, for instance, as the proposal to allow Rates, which ties the subsidy to a house instead of an individual. I should be very chary of giving a vote either now or in Committee against anything, or almost anything, which would help to develop the principle of private enterprise in regard to the question of building houses.
Then in respect to the third point of the right hon. Gentleman. I am one of those who believe that the main advantage of this Bill lies in the very limitation which has been so freely criticised. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Swansea said yesterday that we must have houses covering 1,000 feet instead of 850. One of the hon. Members for Edinburgh, speaking on behalf of the Labour party, said he also wanted a larger house, and the hon. Member for Wirrell asked for 1,150 feet, and there seems to be a united opposition to the Bill in this matter. But I believe that the Minister is perfectly right in confining the houses which are going to be helped by a State subsidy, coupled with a municipal subsidy, to a definite part of the people. I think it is right also to confine this to that part of the people where the need is greatest. Certain hon. Members, in speaking on the point, drew attention to 524 the need for larger houses by stating that in Glasgow about 66 per cent. of the hereditaments were two rooms and less. That gets to the root of the matter. Surely you cannot argue that when so large a proportion of the people of this country are, from one reason or another, living in houses which are two rooms only or less, that a six-roomed house of this description—because that is what it amounts to—is too small for them? You are absolutely by that method attacking the problem at a point where it is most vulnerable.
§ 5.0 P.M.
§ Sir P. PILDITCH
There are five rooms and a scullery, and as the scullery probably contains a range, it must be considered as a room. What are the facts connected with this particular house? It has a superficial area of 840 feet. After allowing for the scullery I have spoken about, you have on the ground floor 260 feet, which can be used for a good sized living room, in one corner of which the student of whom we have heard can pursue his or her studies, and where the lovers that have been referred to might conceivably be found in another corner. Some of my hon. Friends do not seem to know that young people seek other and more appropriate places in which to carry on their courtships than under their father and mother's roof. That is so in all classes. You have 260 feet left, and you have the choice to have one or two rooms if you like. I say you could not have a better method of attacking the problem at its worst than you have in this or some similar Bill. I am not prepared to say that I think this Bill is going to cure the housing problem. It hardly touches the slum question at all, which is the gigantic question with which we are faced. The Minister for Health told us in his opening speech perfectly frankly that he only looked upon this Bid as a first step in clearing away the difficulties of the housing difficulty. The reason I support this Bill so strongly is because of the very fact that it leaves the whole area, outside the tiny houses or cottages, open to the operations of private enterprise. That is where my hon. Friends who sit opposite will get their houses in the end.
§ Sir P. PILDITCH
I would have liked, if it had been possible, to deal with the whole question of the removal from the Statute Book of the restrictions which are at present stopping the operation of house building by private industry. Once the State comes in or the municipality, private industry has nothing more to do with that particular part of the problem. Once you fill the ground with the State or the promise of State intervention, private industry is completely ousted, but by the principle of this Bill the field is left open, and if we come to the conclusion in this House—and I hope all parties will come to the conclusion that the time has come when private enterprise should be free from the restrictions which have impeded it in the last four or five years (very necessarily I admit in the crisis we have gone through)—if we come to the conclusion that private industry should, in due time and under proper conditions, be removed from control, my strong conviction is that it will be found to be a gain competent to fill the blanks this Bill will and must leave, and provide the houses for the better class artisan, for the lower middle class man, and for all the classes of the community who are not touched by this Bill. There is plenty of money that could be used for this purpose. If hon. Members looked at the "Times" this morning they would see in the commercial column an article on "Housing Finance" of which I will read a few lines. The writer says:Housing finance presents one of the most difficult of post-War financial problems, and if a sound economic solution is to be found, it is necessary to discover the fundamental reason why house building by private enterprise, despite the great scarcity of housing accommodation, is so slack. Although there may be sound social reasons for putting into force Regulations which will prevent the monetary expression of the law of supply and demand, all such measures, whether for restricting or raising prices, are economically unsound. This is amply demonstrated by the experience of rent restriction and of similar operations during the War. The problem which requires solution therefore is how to bring the control of rents to an end at the earliest possible moment.I am not going to argue for a moment that any Government can bring about 526 de-control straight away, but it would be the wisest thing to do if any Government dared to do it. What would happen would be that prices and rents would soar; some people would buy their houses. Houses would be provided before long, and there would be a slump, and rents and prices would then fall to somewhere near the limit which people could afford.
I am not theorising on this point. I would like the House to remember a matter which is within its own experience. Hon. Members may remember what happened over the business premises arrangement. During the passing of the last Housing Bill the occupiers of business premises had to pay high rents because people, who came home from the War and thought they could make a lot of money out of small businesses, rushed into the market and took offices and put up the rents of offices. No building was proceeding during the War; the position was very serious, and there was a great clamour that business premises should be included in the Bill. They were included, for one year, I think, and when the time came that that Bill had to be renewed, there was a great clamour that business premises should be kept in the Bill. The Government referred the matter to a Committee of the House. I was a member of that Committee, and during all the time we sat, from June to December, 1920, we had evidence from a great many landlords and tenants on both sides. The tenants were upset because their rents were so high, and we had a great deal of evidence of that kind. The Committee in their Report advocated that a certain amount of continuation of restriction of business premises should take place, and they gave certain reasons for their recommendation. I issued a reservation pointing out why I thought there was no need to take any such step at all. The late Coalition Government took that Report into consideration and they decided to remove the restrictions on business premises. They did so, and as soon as that restriction was taken out of the Bill people began to build offices all over London and other parts of the country. You can go into various parts of London and get offices for much less rent than was charged before.
Exactly the same will happen in the case of provision of houses. If you put private 527 industry again on the field it formerly occupied, you will tempt the banker or the financier who financed the little builder, the little builder himself who built the houses, the man who lent the money on mortgage on the houses, the little investor who bought the houses—one, two or three, often a working man—you will tempt all these people to come in by showing that you have finished with restriction at a certain date. Let the market have full and free play, and you will find that your housing question will be solved. Of course, this would take a little time, and I am doubtful if there is any Government that would be strong enough or steadfast enough to stand the tremendous outcry that would arise during the earlier stages of the operation. There would be a lot of suffering in the interval; it would not be for long, but there would be suffering in the interval. My right hon. Friend the Minister for Health may mean to deal with this aspect of the question on a subsequent occasion; I do not know about that. My only desire to-day is to make this point, that the Bill is right from the standpoint that it limits the State and municipal subsidy to a certain definite and limited area of the whole field, and that it leaves the other part open to be dealt with by the operations of private enterprise.
My right hon. Friend the Minister for Health will have to take his courage in both hands, if I may say so, and come to the House to help him to free industry from its shackles and let the building industry come into its own again. I had a letter two or three days ago from a certain alderman in a great city in the North of England who is the Chairman of a Property Owners' and Builders' Association. In that letter he said that there were 3,000 members of the association who had provided, at a cost of £12,000,000 in the years before the War, between 40,000 and 50,000 small houses, and he said that the majority of his members would be quite prepared, unless something was done on the lines I have suggested, such is the condition of the industry of building and owning houses, to sell their houses for the mortgage amount and that not one of them would touch a brick in the way of building houses for the working class again until it was made perfectly clear in this House 528 that control and restriction would be removed at a definite period. If that were done and private industry, the old-fashioned building trade were recognised as a respectable trade, worthy of being fostered in the interests of the people, he was satisfied that would form a solution of the whole question. My view is that you could not decontrol right off at this moment. What I hope we shall do before long is to fix a definite date, and that, in the meantime, the whole issue may not be settled at once and so cause an immediate upheaval, but that in the interval between now and the date when restrictions are removed, rents should be allowed to gradually rise by, say, 5 per cent. per annum. The consequence would be a gradual rise towards economic rents and at, once, in my opinion, the building industry would fulfil the duty which the Government has started in this excellent Bill.
§ Mr. T. WILLIAMS
It is clear from the speeches to which we have just been listening that hon. Members all intend to make one point. I think the hon. Member who has just sat down has made that point pretty clearly. Boiled down, it amounts to this: that if the Government would decontrol all the houses, abolish the Rent Restrictions Act, and permit the landlords to charge just what they desired, there would be some encouragement to the speculative builder to enter the building world, knowing that he could just exact as much rent as he desired. I doubt the efficacy of that solution. Further, I would remind my hon. Friend opposite that, if the speculative builder desired to build houses for which he could charge just as much rent as he liked, the opportunity is open for him to do so, because for the new houses he builds he can charge just as much rent as he likes, therefore the whole argument from beginning to end is fallacious. Important facts have emerged from the Debate yesterday and to-day on the question of housing. First, there is a universal recognition that, of all the social problems with which the Government have to deal, housing stands out pre-eminently. All parties seem to agree that, if we desire to have a large number of happy, contented, healthy and virile people, or a highly intelligent, people, we can only secure them by attending to the housing problem as it should be attended to.
529 The second vital point is the failure of the Government to adequately make provision for supplying all municipalities with building materials at reasonable prices. From whichever angle we approach this problem, we find ourselves face to face with the fact that the type of the houses, their size, and the amenities permitted inside them will be based largely upon the price of building materials which have to be purchased. Instead of devoting so much time to providing ways and means whereby we can stimulate private enterprise, it seems to me that if the Government are really serious in their pretensions to tackle the housing problem seriously, instead of stimulating private enterprise they should forthwith commence to stifle it by avoiding unnecessary increases in the price of building materials.
I want to attempt to divert the Debate for a moment from the cities which were dealt with so adequately and effectively yesterday, to some of the mining villages of this country. I happen to be attempting to represent a large area of agricultural land, an area where new collieries are going down very rapidly, and the housing conditions in many of those areas are fast becoming like some of the housing conditions which were related before the Sankey Commission. To give a definite example of what exactly is taking place and what the conditions are, I propose to read an extract from the report of one of the Yorkshire County Council sanitary inspectors. He says, in dealing with the Doncaster Rural District in regard to housing at Edlington:The sanitary survey of this district by my Department confirms the very bad housing conditions of the working classes. The tuberculosis records for the year 1921 disclosed the information that of the 62 cases which had been reported in the whole of the rural district comprising 40 parishes, 36 were from the parish of Edlington, which strengthens the necessity for serious consideration. New Edlington, as its name implies, is a new colliery village. In 1901 there was only one house there and 951 in 1922. In the 924 houses inspected the following conditions were noted: 217 had two families in each house; six had three families in each house; one had actually four families resident therein; 33, in addition to having two or more families, also had lodgers, and 419 had lodgers or more than one family. There are eight wooden houses in course of construction, the last of 102 such houses provided by the colliery company. The rural district council have tot propounded a housing scheme for this parish.530 I want to ask the Minister responsible for this Bill what he intends to do with delinquent authorities, composed almost wholly of farmers who fear any possible increase in rates, and, as a result, definitely refuse to undertake any housing scheme at all? This is the result of the refusal of the Doncaster Rural District Council to take any steps at all to mitigate the housing evils in that particular parish. One can very well understand that, if the Government are going to place the larger part of the burden upon the local authorities, who are already heavily burdened with excessive rates, these same local authorities at least are going to think twice before they act once with regard to housing their people. Moreover, there can be no similarity between the urban districts and cities and the rural districts. Unless special concessions are going to be made to the rural people, I see little or no hope of the rural people actually being housed. This is actually what is taking place where new collieries are going down. The colliery company who, in the very nature of things, need a very large area of land, purchase sometimes either a whole village or possibly a great part of it, and in some instances even more than that. They do, at the outset, erect a few houses of their own, but they never erect enough houses to keep pace with the development of their colliery, for the new men who are continually coming along to work there, with the inevitable result that, as the colliery develops and the number of workmen increases, overcrowding becomes absolutely unavoidable.
Most of these collieries are sunk in rural areas and the rural councils refuse to accept their obligations, with the result that overcrowding follows with the terrible results recorded in the report from which I quoted. It is true to say that in some instances colliery companies have done something towards housing their people, but they have never done sufficient to obviate overcrowding in districts similar to Edlington. Around Doncaster there are seven or eight new collieries either developing or going down very rapidly to the coal, and in every one of these districts to a greater or lesser degree the housing conditions are in a similar ratio to the conditions obtaining at Edlington. I submit to the House that unless rural areas are going to be given such concessions as will stimulate their efforts giving the rural council some 531 guarantee that the burden will not be too great for them there is no possibility of solving the housing problem under the Bill now before us.
There is another side to the new colliery village housing problem. Whilst we have overcrowding in the early stages of a new mining village you bring together large numbers of little children. Just imagine, for instance, the conditions obtaining at Edlington. You bring together a large aggregation of children who have no outlet for their youthful energies, and the inevitable result is that all the natural beauty adjoining the houses is automatically destroyed, and you get the slum areas recorded in the dark pages of the Sankey Commission. Not only that but you get ill-health, low morality, and absenteeism at your collieries and you are not likely to get the output that hon. Members opposite are very often seeking. In many of the mining districts you have councils who have taken no part in the housing question at all and the people have been wholly dependent upon the speculative builder. We have one district in the Don Valley which would be well worth a visit by hon. Members of this House. There you have one of the sights which it is not a blessing to see. You have row after row of houses, or rather brick boxes with lids on, like Grenadier Guards on parade, without the colouring of the dress, since paint is very rare in that district. As there has been no development of housing in conjunction with the development of the collieries, overcrowding becomes inevitable, with all its destructive effects in every walk of life.
Then, again, I want to ask the House what their intentions are with regard to the rising generation. The quality or size of the houses has been adequately dealt with by various speakers, but I want to ask hon. Members opposite if it ii, their intention that children should continue to be sent to school for six hours, and then permitted to spend the next 18 hours in the degrading surroundings that obtain in many of the mining districts. If that be so, we shall not get the health, the virility, or the intellectual qualities that we all desire. The Minister yesterday referred to the fact that the problem of housing did not start either during or after the War, and he took us back to 1909, when he referred to a particular Act. I want to suggest that 532 the housing problem began long before even 1909. From 1901 to 1911 there were something like 2,640,000 weddings, while during the same period only 840,000 houses were built. From 1910 to 1920 there were 3,675,000 weddings, while there were only 357,000 houses actually built. There were, therefore, taking those two sets of figures together, over 5,000,000 more weddings than there were actual houses built. During that period we had both Conservative and Liberal Governments, and also private enterprise, untrammelled by the Government and with ample opportunities of supplying all the houses that these people desired. If, therefore, we are to depend upon the same people who refused to house the population between the years 1901 and 1920, there is little or no hope in that direction.
Medical officers of health all over the country are bewailing the fact that their curative treatment is absolutely futile. They recognise that, unless you have decent homes, with plenty of air and plenty of opportunities, they may as well be spending their time in some other way than curing diseases. Preventive legislation is absolutely necessary, and, if it is going to cost the country a few million pounds a year for a number of years, what is the cost compared with the cost of curing diseases as we are spending money at this present moment? Between £100,000,000 and £150,000,000 is spent annually in attempting to cure diseases which, in the large majority of cases, could actually have been prevented, and we are told, also, that something like 2½ per cent. of the possible working time is lost because of ill-health, which very likely could be avoided if the people were housed properly. I want just to give one illustration of what municipalities could do as compared with private enterprise, and did do in the days before the War. The small urban authority of Bolton-on-Dearne not only built houses in 1910, but they built a better quality of houses than the average speculative builder, and provided more social amenities—a bath and all other domestic requisites, and a decent garden all round the house: and the rents of those houses are the lowest in the whole district, even to-day. They have not only paid for themselves out of the rents that have been received, but the authority, while charging the lowest possible rents, are actually saving 533 money year by year. Since the War they have gone even beyond that. Recognising the dearness of bricks and of all materials that go to the building of houses, they purchased their own brickyard, and, after selling their bricks at the average price, they find themselves, at the end of 18 months, with an actual profit of £1,000 or £2,000. They have not been charging more for their bricks than has been charged in the private brickyard; they have lowered them whenever the general price has fallen; and yet they pay better wages and give their workmen better conditions, and they are saving money and building their own houses with their own bricks.
There is no reason why we should longer dwell upon the futility of waiting for private enterprise to solve our housing problem. If the local authorities are given plenty of power to design the houses that they know their people require, and if they have the assurance of the Government that they will be permitted to purchase their materials at reasonable prices, I am convinced that not only will the houses be of a better type than millions of those that have been built, and of such a type as will give to the people the maximum of comfort, but the time will not be far distant when Government subsidies can automatically be dispensed with. I repeat that, instead of stimulating private enterprise in the vain hope that you will get houses from it, it ought to be stifled for a time, at least with regard to the price they are going to be permitted to charge for their materials. I have two letters from urban councils in the Don Valley Division, both stating very definitely that the real cause, so far as they can see, of houses not having been built is the high price of building materials.
I want the Government to make up their mind that they are going to control the price of building materials, and I want them to remember, also, that there is a very great difference between the city and the rural area. If they desire houses to be built in rural areas, they must not only give to rural councils the power to build them, but they must reserve for themselves sufficient power to compel rural councils to build where they refuse to do so. If they will do this, I am convinced that we shall not only have made a start, but shall be well on our way 534 to solving the greatest social problem that ever confronted this or any other Government. If you want a contented and happy people, you must give them decent homes to live in. If you want a healthy and virile people, again you must give them decent homes to live in, where there is plenty of air; and, if you want a highly intelligent body of people, you must provide better opportunities and facilities for continued education than the one or two rooms that some hon. Members opposite have said are large enough. Again, if the employers of the nation want the maximum output, they can only get that output by building up a body of strong, virile workers, who will be able to work 100 per cent. of their time, instead of a small portion of the time because of diseases contracted in the poorest dwellings that were ever built in any country in the world.
§ Sir ERNEST HILEY
I represent a constituency which has been almost built up, and is almost entirely populated, by working people, and the question of the repair of houses is of as great importance to them as is the provision of new houses in populous cities. I want, therefore, to ask a question with regard to Clause 10 of the Bill, which deals with repairs to houses. The wording of the Clause is rather unusual, but I gather that its effect is to deal with the powers of local authorities to serve notices on the owners of houses to repair, and I want to inquire—I am glad that the Attorney-General is on the Government Bench—whether the powers under that Clause will enable a local authority to make an owner paint and decorate his house. The question is a grievous one, and has been raised on many occasions. Various local authorities have put into force the existing powers, but they are very doubtful whether they really can compel the owner to paint and decorate a house. In my constituency many of the houses are so old that it is only the paper that keeps the plaster on the walls. I want to ask the Attorney-General whether he thinks the words of paragraph (a) of Clause 10 are sufficient to enable the local authority to prescribe works of painting and decorating to be carried out by the owner. I think it would be much better, as doubts do now exist, if these words were extended, and it was made perfectly clear that they did apply to painting and decorating.
535 Another point that I want to raise is this: It appears to me that the effect of this Clause is limited, in the county boroughs, to houses of £26 a year and under. I know that discussion has been going on for some years as to the type of house which should be brought in under these notices to repair. We have proceeded by stages. In the original Act, I believe, in the City of Birmingham, the limit was £10. Then, in the Act of 1909, it was worked up to £26. I am going to suggest to the Government that the time has come when the limit should be removed altogether, so that the local authority might be able to serve a notice in respect of a house of any rateable value. Certainly, at the present time, with the rents now in force, the limit of £26 is too low, and, if it is not thought fit to remove the limit altogether, certainly some increase ought to be made, so as to bring in houses, the rents of which have been increased by 40 per cent. under the Rent Restriction Acts. Before I sit down, I should like to join in the plea that has been made from all parts of the House to the Minister to increase the limit under Sub-section (2) of Clause I in regard to the size of buildings which are to receive a subsidy. I believe that the desire for that is very general throughout the country and, if the Minister could see his way to make an increase to 950 feet, he would make the Bill much more acceptable, and would make it a very much easier Measure for the local authorities to administer.
§ Mr. McCURDY
I should like to join in what has been said by several speakers this afternoon, in saying that I would certainly vote for any Measure which I thought would help to provide houses. I would certainly vote for any Measure which I thought would stimulate private enterprise, as being what I believe to be the best way to get the houses that we want. I will not enter on any criticisms on minute details of the Bill. We on these benches shall be only too anxious to do all we can in making helpful suggestions to improve it in Committee, and if, as I suppose is inevitable, the Bill ultimately comes to be the law of the land, we shall be only too glad to do all we can to make it a success. But I find a grave difficulty in voting for the Second Reading, because the Bill to me is a pro- 536 found disappointment. The magnitude of the housing evil has been so eloquently expressed in the Debate, that I will not waste time in recapitulating it. The housing problem is one not only of appalling dimensions as it affects the poorest classes of the community. Some of the figures which have been quoted, with regard to conditions in Scotland, are really of a horrifying character. [HON. MEMBERS: "And in England!"] And in England. It is also a problem which not only is the problem of the very poor and the problem of the slum. It is also, though this is less important, the problem of all classes of the community suffering from a shortage of houses and the high rents, which are necessary in consequence of that shortage.
There are really two quite separate problems, and unless we separate them we are not likely to find a real effective remedy. The first problem is how to restore to a condition of prosperity and efficiency the great British building industry. It was languishing before the War so far as the provision of houses for people to live in is concerned. It was practically killed by the War, it was coffined by the policy which transferred from the building industry to the shoulders of the municipalities the task of attempting to provide the houses of which we are urgently in need, and I believe to-day there are signs that British industry is stirring and awaiting a resurrection if it were given a chance. That is one problem, the problem of how you are to restore to prosperity one of the fundamental industries of Great Britain whose prosperity, looking over the centuries, is almost a thermometer of the general well-being of trade and industry as a whole—an industry which in time of peace used to support something like half-a-million skilled workers and in which there are at present no fewer than 140,000 men unemployed. The second problem is what steps should be taken, when they should be taken, by whom they should be taken, to clear away from our country the reproach of slumdom, to clear away the unsanitary areas, and that is a work which ought to be performed and will have to be performed either by this Minister of Health or by his successor at some date, not by pushing it on to the shoulders of private enterprise or the private builder but at the cost of the public Exchequer. 537 Let me separate those two questions and say a word or two on each.
First let me deal with the question of the slum. I am in entire agreement with the views which have been expressed from the benches above the Gangway. I believe if you take into account the cost of preventible disease, the cost of preventible vice and crime, the lowered physique, the lowered efficiency of the worker, and the reduced output of national wealth consequent upon that, which are directly due to bad housing conditions, probably the annual cost to the nation at present of these slums exceeds what would be the annual cost of a national scheme for slum clearance. May I say how profoundly I regret that, owing to what I regard as the wholly mistaken financial policy of the Government at a time when unemployment is casting its shadow in every street, when there are houseless to be housed and unemployed to be employed, £145,000,000 of the taxpayers' money—£100,000,000 of which was obtained from him on the pious pretence that the Exchequer was to have no such surplus—is devoted to the comparatively barren purpose of Debt reduction, which will, I know, further improve the capital value of stocks and securities, which are already appreciating, but which would have been far more profitably employed, as regards part of it, in schemes for employing the unemployed, for finding houses for the houseless and in stopping the depreciation of the capital stock of flesh and blood, which is far more important to this country than the appreciation of securities. I believe that, sooner or later, this Government, or a Government possibly of a very different character, will be compelled, and rightly, to shoulder manfully the problem of slum clearance and the rehousing of that section of the population which is at present living in the one-room and two-room houses we have heard about, at the cost of the Exchequer, facing quite frankly the fact that you can never rehouse these people, you can never replace these slums, if you are going to wait until private enterprise is able to provide for the submerged tenth decent and respectable dwellings at a rent which will provide an economic return on the capital necessary for the purpose. It is sanitary work, it is hospital work, it is the work of cleansing out the Augean stables of the country 538 and restoring health and vigour to the youth and manhood of our people, and it is ridiculous to suggest that work of that kind is to wait, or ought to wait, until someone can figure out 5 per cent. on the capital which will be employed. That is not the way in which the Ministry of Health ought to envisage a sanitary measure of that necessity and that importance. Then can it be suggested that to that problem, to which hon. Members above the Gangway have devoted such eloquent speeches, this Bill contributes even the pretence of a solution. Can it be suggested that it is even a step in the direction of removing that reproach upon our civilisation?
Now let me turn to the other question of the restoration of the building industry. The building industry—and that is why I beg hon. Members to separate these two questions in their minds—will never, whatever degree of prosperity it may attain, be able to achieve the impossible task of clearing away slum areas and rehousing the population and paying a satisfactory profit upon the transaction. But the business of providing houses for the rest of the population, who are also entitled to some consideration—the artisan in receipt of good wages, the young couple waiting to be married who, even, have a little capital with which they might commence the purchase of a house on the instalment system—is a problem which, I believe, British industry, without State aid or interference, ought to be quite competent to deal with, in a short time from now, if it were given a fair chance. Prior to the War one-third of the output of British builders consisted of houses below the rental limit of £20–100,000 houses per year. It had fallen off before the War, and when the War came building came to a stop altogether. Men were employed on other work and the operations of the private builders ceased. But when the War was over we found ourselves faced with a shortage of houses which had been immensely intensified, immensely aggravated, by the cessation of building during the years of the War. There was a shortage of houses in the sense that there was a crying national need for slum clearance and re-housing of the working classes before the War. After the War the shortage had spread upwards and extended into practically every stratum of society. The population had increased. 539 I speak from my own personal experience, which is probably shared by all hon. Members, when I remind them how easy it was to have a choice of middle-class houses before the War and how extraordinarily limited was the choice when the War was over. There were two methods by which the Government might have set about to help provide the houses which were necessary. The first policy would have been to encourage and to stimulate the building industry. There are various ways of doing it. The policy which was unfortunately adopted was to try to find some other agency which could come to the assistance of the State on the assumption that private enterprise had failed.
Before the War, of the houses which were provided for the working class 90 per cent. were provided by private enterprise by the speculative builder. [An HON. MEMBER: "You can see them now."] Yes, and very good houses, too, do not make any mistake—some of them built by public utility societies, places like Letchworth built by private enterprise, and some by co-operative enterprise. Do not let us wander away into the quagmire of economic differences when we are discussing a simple but important issue like the housing problem. Ninety per cent. of the houses which were being provided before the War were being provided by private enterprise. [An HON. MEMBER: "100 per cent. slums."] No, I am speaking of what happened a few years before the War. There has not been time for any of those houses to become slums. Ten per cent. at the most were provided by municipal authorities, and the policy which was adopted after the War was to discourage the people who had been building 90 per cent. of the houses and to encourage the people who have been building 10 per cent. of the houses. Not merely to discourage on the one side and to encourage on the other—those terms are much too mild—but to put the private builder out of business as far as building small houses was concerned, and not merely to encourage the municipalities, but to bring all the pressure of the State to bear to force municipal authorities, who had had no more experience of house building than a mother's sewing class, to start upon the business of pro- 540 viding houses, where it was supposed that the great national building industry had failed.
It was the most extraordinary experiment ever tried in the history of this or any other country. Whether it will ever be followed again one cannot say. Whether in some day of difficulty about ships the local authorities will be asked to build ships, or whether under some new policy of agriculture the local authorities will be asked to manage the farms, I do not know. At any rate, as far as the result of that policy was concerned, discouraging private enterprise and trying to transfer the task of providing houses from the great British building industry, which had been housing the people for hundreds of years, to the butcher, the baker and the candlestick-maker, the squire and the squire's lady on the rural district council or some other body, who had had nothing to do with house building, it was a disastrous failure.
There was a hold-up of building materials for the benefit of the local authorities. Bricks were collected in millions for the use of the local authorities. Talk about rings and combines for putting up the prices of houses! There were rings then. There was, first of all, a ring round the builder, which deprived him of access to the land, of access to building materials, and gave him no chance of getting his plans passed, while the local authorities were preparing and getting on with their schemes. Presently that was, most naturally, succeeded by a ring round the local authority. There were the local builders who, before the War, had been competing with one another to get orders from the local landowner here, from the local authority there, building a house on speculation, or for a private client, with the assistance of the surveyor, the building society, and the local solicitor. All that great machinery for providing houses which had grown up as a result of centuries of building tradition in this country was scrapped and put on one side. The poor builders had nothing to do except to make a ring round the local authority, who was the only person to whom they could look for orders. Does anybody doubt that they did it? Does anybody doubt that they were bound to do it? If anybody does doubt it, let me remind the 541 House of a little incident that occurred when Dr. Addison was Minister of Health, There came a period when for a cottage which before the War a speculative builder would have built for £250, £950 was expended by the local authority. Dr. Addison put his foot down, and issued a circular to the local authorities and to the builders, and any evil-disposed persons, and said that tenders not under £800 would not be considered. In a few weeks there was a most surprising and gratifying result from all parts of the country. There were reports of tenders of £780, £760, £740 and so on.
If you proceed to abolish free competition, and if you proceed to put the private builder out of action, to discourage the private building owner from carrying on his operations, and you reduce the matter to a simple game where there is one local authority, which does not know much about building, and that is the only client which the poor builders have to rely upon, we may take it that they will try to get the best terms for themselves from their one remaining client, the local authority. There is a good deal of nonsense talked about combines. I do not believe that at the present time the housing difficulties are necessarily much aggravated by the operations of rings and combines. [HON. MEMBERS: "Yes, they are!"] It is one of those popular delusions which I suppose will live with us for many years. I had the honour for some time of sitting as Chairman of a Committee, which was appointed in February, 1919, to consider the operation of rings and combines in this country. I had the advantage on that Committee of the assistance of some very able men, and not least among them was the hon. Member for Seaham (Mr. Webb). We had also on that Committee other gentlemen well known to the Labour party, Mr. Ernest Bevin, Mr. Hobson and others. A minority report was issued by the whole of the Labour Members of the Committee, and that report says:We do not suggest that any action should be taken to prevent or obstruct combination or association in capitalistic enterprise. Apart from the experience that no such interference can be made effective, we have to recognise that association and combination in production and distribution are steps in the greater efficiency, the increased economy and the better organisation of industry. We regard this evolution as both inevitable and desirable.542 While before the War 90 per cent. of the houses had been produced by private enterprise and only 10 per cent. by municipal enterprise, the costs of production were remarkably different. I speak from memory, because it is a good many years since I was actually concerned with house building; but at that time the figures were very familiar to me. In those days the cost of a municipal cottage, taking a survey of municipal housing schemes throughout the country, averaged about £300 per cottage. The lowest price that was ever reached was attained by an ingenious gentleman in the Potteries, who designed a cottage for a local housing scheme which cost something like £265. The houses provided by the private builder, which certainly were not slums, but which formed streets in the towns in the Midlands, with which I am acquainted—
§ Mr. McCURDY
Comparing like with like as far as accommodation is concerned—I have not had time to verify my reference—and comparing the streets of artizans' dwellings in such towns as Leicester and Northampton, the cost of the production of private built houses was far lower, in some cases as much as 50 per cent. lower, than the cost of similar houses under municipal schemes. I am not suggesting that the houses built under municipal schemes did not get amenities in the way of more space round them, and better lay-out than the straight streets of the private-built houses; but the cost of building is the comparison I want to make. The consequence of that was that not only was the private builder extremely hampered and restricted, but when the Director of Building Supplies had got all the bricks and was holding them for the use of the municipal authorities, the private builder, who before the War had been in the habit of building the great majority of houses, was practically put out of the market.
I was speaking yesterday to a gentleman who, before the War, was in the habit of building several hundred cottages every year. He asked me whether I saw any reason why he should not resume building and put up a couple of hundred houses this year. I did my best 543 to encourage him to do so. His doubt was this: "What is the corporation going to do?" When a corporation was paying £1,300 for a £200 cottage, it was obviously quite impossible for the private owner to erect cottages in competition with the municipal authority. The hon. Member for West Woolwich (Sir K. Wood) very much surprised me yesterday by quoting a passage from the President of the Surveyor's Institute, in which he seemed to suggest that private enterprise was afraid of the competition of the local authorities because local authorities built cheaper than private enterprise. The fact is exactly the opposite. At the time when the local authority was paying £950 per house, which price in a week or two was obligingly reduced to £780 and lower, it was impossible for the local owner-builder to get a fair price quoted to him for any work that he wanted to do.
The policy of this or any other Government which intends to deal with this great problem on business-like lines is to do everything possible to restore British industry and to help it to carry on its normal work in providing such houses as can be built at economic rents, not the work of clearing and rehousing dispossessed tenants from the slum areas, which should be a matter for the State. At the same time, with 140,000 men in the building trade unemployed, in spite of what was said about the shortage of building labour, there is quite sufficient reserve of building labour to get on with a real national scheme of slum clearance and re-housing. If the Government will proceed on those lines they will find work for the unemployed and will benefit the country as a whole.
A word about the Bill. I believe the Minister of Health will not seriously differ from the views I have just expressed as to what would be a desirable policy for this Government. Does he really think that this Bill carries out that policy? It seems to me to do the exact opposite. It goes on encouraging the very arrangement under which the public and the municipal authorities are being taught to believe that, if only the building industry is to some extent superseded by the municipal authority, houses will be provided at a lower price and at lower rents 544 than by private enterprise. They are being encouraged in that delusion. Does offering encouragement to municipal authorities to prepare fresh schemes encourage private enterprise? The only encouragement which it gives to private enterprise is this. It says that in certain circumstances the private builder may go to the local authority, which in this matter is apparently, if not the supreme judge, the tribunal whose opinion must be obtained before anything can be done, and persuade it that he should be given some assistance to build.
I am not going to deal with points as to what is the best method of encouraging the private builder, whether by the remission of rates or a subsidy or more consideration for owners of house property when it comes to the assessment of Income Tax in regard to the cost of repairs and collection for small property. It would be impossible to deal with them on Second Reading, but I may lay down as a cardinal principle that, if you want to encourage private enterprise, you will not do it by filtering any sort of encouragement to it through the medium of the municipal authorities who are acting as its substitute for the last few years. If you do finance the private builder, you should consider whether you cannot do it directly instead of with all this circumlocution through the local authorities. The proposal in the Bill to encourage the private builder by a subsidy seems to me to be a very extraordinary one.
Consider the position of the private builder. To-day every class of the community wants houses. Prices are still very high. Rents are still high and prices of material are falling. The position is not unfavourable for the builder. So far as I can see, the only really unfavourable factor at present, so far as building is concerned, is uncertainty as to the future. If he can get an order for houses he is on velvet. But not if he has to build on speculation with no certainty of what six months are going to bring forth in this year of falling prices. But he has got clients waiting for houses, people who can afford to pay rent for houses; some people who can even afford to buy a house. It is suggested that what we are going to do is to tempt the builder to build the smallest size houses which can be regarded as a decent habitation for working 545 men. We are not going to allow him to build such houses of a little better quality, for which people are anxiously waiting, which, if built, would be occupied and would leave accommodation elsewhere, but we are going to assist him to build the cheapest and nastiest house.
But although it is to be the nastiest house, it need not be the cheapest when he comes to let it or sell it. He can build a house, but he is free to let it or sell it at the price of a better house. We give a subsidy if he builds a £350 house and sells it for £500. How is that going to solve the problem of low prices or the restoration of British enterprise? The real policy is to try to encourage the private builder in any way you like—some of the ways I have suggested—and to cry a decisive and definite halt on the mistaken policy which was entered upon after the War, when the Government of that day decided to turn their back upon the great national building industry and to look to municipal authorities, in the hope that they would display business enterprise and business organisation and reveal resources of business experience which were lacking in the industry itself.
§ Mr. HARCOURT JOHNSTONE
I hope that I may claim the indulgence which is usually granted to a Member when he speaks here for the first time. To a certain extent I hope to secure for myself the indulgence of the Minister in charge of the Bill, and I also hope for indulgence because I have chosen the opportunity to speak when the Attorney-General is on the bench, as I am one of his constituents. I wish very shortly to draw attention, if I may, to one line in the Amendment which has been moved by the hon. Member for Shettleston (Mr. Wheatley) which I do not think has received sufficient attention—It fails to provide the means of securing a sufficient supply of building materials at reasonable prices.I am very glad to see the hon. Member for Seaham (Mr. Webb) and the right hon. Gentleman who has just sat down in their places, because this question is closely bound up with the Report from which the right hon. Gentleman has quoted and which I will quote myself later on. But before I do that I wish to refer to some remarks made by the Minister of Health on 28th March in a most inter- 546 esting Debate on the question of the prices of the building materials. The right hon. Gentleman said with reference to the predicted rise in prices:I think that there will be general agreement that we are all anxious to prevent any repetition of that great rise in prices which accompanied what are known as the Addison Scheme houses. I need hardly say that there is no one who is more vitally interested in the matter than myself because the inevitable result if such a rise in prices took place would be the throwing down, if not the wrecking, of the housing programme for which I shall be responsible."—[OFFICICAL REPORRT, 28th March, 1923; col. 682, Vol. 162.]We see from that the right hon. Gentleman is fully alive to the difficulty of providing these materials at reasonable prices, and, indeed, the position of the Government is in effect in this scheme that of contractor for the nation. I have very little business experience myself, but I should be very much surprised to know of any contractor who, before he fixes the financial portion of his scheme, would omit to provide himself with materials. It strikes me, and I speak subject to correction, that that is in itself an un-business-like way to begin your housing scheme. I understand from the right hon. Gentleman that he has appointed a Committee to watch prices and report to him, but I suggest to him that perhaps it will be found that, should this rise in prices take place, this Committee is rather a round-about way of immediately reducing prices. They have to report, the report has to be accepted and investigated by the Ministry, and after that action may or may not be taken.
The right hon. Gentleman who has just sat down said—and I have no doubt that there is nobody with more knowledge of the question of rings than he has—that in the Minority Report adverse comment on rings was of the slightest description. I have the Report here, and I can only say that I think he has a little unfairly quoted one particular Clause or series of phrases in the Report. If I may be allowed, I would like to draw his attention to one passage which occurs further on in the paper which was presented to him and to the Committee on combinations in the building materials trades—by whom I do not know, as the names are not given—and you will see that it is clear that not, only are there rings, but that every contractor and builder knows it, and I speak in the presence of a very 547 eminent builder who is sitting on the Government Bench below the Gangway, and if I had any doubt on the matter this Report which was presented to the Committee on Trusts would dissolve any such doubt at once. That being the case, how are we to deal with the possibility of prices being thrust up against Municipalities? I see two ways, and possibly a sub-head of the first way, which is very difficult to work out, to which, if I may, I will call the attention of the House.
The first way suggested yesterday by my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Leith (Captain W. Benn) is that a tribunal, or perhaps more than one tribunal, should be set up which could take immediate and drastic action and summon before them the persons liable, in their opinion, for the rise in prices, and order the seizure of all documents, and publish from day to day their conclusions on the evidence before them, and so draw the attention of public opinion to this matter. Another way, also mentioned by my hon. and gallant Friend yesterday, is the creation of a free market in materials. At present we are faced, I believe, in the building industry, wherever we look, by this problem, that these houses are built mainly in accordance with the recommendations of the Committee on Housing, and in accordance with the general feeling that they are to be built mainly by small builders. Small builders in the supplying of materials—I speak very humbly on this—have two or three things against them. They have the question of capital, which drives them, after 30 or 40 years particularly, always to the same builders' merchant. They have, in addition to that, a system of deferred rebates by which they are held continually in thrall to that same builders' merchant. There is no doubt that the man, the small man particularly, who has not much capital, will not take the risk of looking elsewhere for his material, as he might lose the rebate, which may be as high as 20 per cent. in six months' time. In addition to that, the small man when he goes to his merchant has to obtain his merchandise on credit, and credit, perhaps, of a not very generous nature.
This I understand is roughly the situation with regard to the small builder. What is the alternative to that? It is a free market. I know from conversations 548 with contractors, friends of mine outside this House, that they have been able on more than one occasion to face this ring in building materials by the mere threat of contracting abroad, without actually having to carry out the threat. That seems to me to be the only alternative which the Government and the municipal authorities have in facing these undoubted rings.
I do not know exactly what amount of each material is available abroad, but I do know that there is a Department of Overseas Trade, and that it is part of that Department's duty to supply statistics, not only as to the available markets for British products, but statistics as to the available supply of products which are needed in this country. It is not a function which the Department exercises as often as it might. I believe that it is the general line of the Government, in dealing with the Overseas Trade Department, very strongly to discourage the giving of such information. I make no charge of any sort. It is very natural in a Conservative Government. Although that Government has not officially labelled itself as Tariff Reform, yet, perhaps all of us have been conscious that when there has arisen a question in which their natural bias can be exercised imperceptibly, it has been so exercised. That is the position. I know, because I have investigated the subject as much as I could in the few days I have had at my disposal, that there are vast stores of material abroad, material which could be imported into this country, or the import of which could be threatened. That would certainly lower or keep at their present level the prices of building materials. Let me quote from the minority report of the Committee on Trusts, for which I imagine the hon. Member for Seaham (Mr. S. Webb) is chiefly responsible:In considering the prevalence of capitalist combinations in British industry, it is impossible to leave out of account the check on profiteering which may be afforded by foreign imports.Those of us in this House who are Free Traders did not need to be told that, but it seems to me that the statement has to a certain extent escaped the attention of the Government. I suggest that they should afford to the municipalities the opportunity of drawing the attention of builders to the possibilities of obtaining materials abroad. I know that at one 549 time the Minister of Health did very largely encourage what might be described as a housing bank of the Birmingham Corporation. I understand that he said on several occasions that this branch of the Corporation's finance could be, and in fact was, successful. If difficulties are found in detaching builders from their present builders' merchants, credits of a sort could be given from such banks, established by municipalities to deal with this housing problem. That is one side of the question. The Government ought to take steps to instruct the Department of Overseas Trade to circularise the municipalities, or whoever is responsible for building under this scheme, and to inform them that there are certain stocks of material abroad, certain factories which manufacture the articles used in the building of houses. We all know that there are large numbers of these materials which are free. There is a free market in timber and a free market in several other things. But there is a severely controlled market in very necessary articles. There is a market so controlled in cement, and the like of it has hardly ever been known. On 28th March, by interruption, I did rather impertinently suggest to the Minister of Health that that market would be even more strictly controlled than ever, that there is definitely the beginning of a building boom in America this year, and that I happened to know that a certain firm of American builders is in negotiation for the purchase of the Portland combine, with a view to exporting the whole of its production for use in America. That would shorten the market and raise the prices still further.
There is, however, in Belgium, a market to which builders should be perfectly free to go for their cement. I understand from contractors that, though in a minor way Belgian cement does not come up to the British specification, it is in fact quite as good. [HON. MEMBERS: "No, it is not!"] I am not a builder, but I have talked to contractors who deal in many millions and use many thousands of tons of cement, and they tell me that the Belgian material is very nearly as good as the British. At the same time that is not the point. There are such things as tiles, which can be imported from abroad and which are just as good as British tiles. I do not wish to be taken as suggesting that we should in any way try to 550 spoil the British market. Anybody who has known England in the last four years knows how desperate is our position and how much in need of employment we are. We want every man and woman possible to be employed. At the same time, is it wise, is it even the ordinary prudence of commerce, to commence a great building scheme which involves the expenditure of many millions of pounds without taking due precautions against the inflation of prices which ruined the former scheme?
I submit humbly that I have suggested a possible method of keeping prices down. I do not believe, and many of my Labour Friends do not believe, in anti-trust legislation. We have all seen how it has failed in America, how the Standard Oil Trust is dissolved about once a week and regularly pays a higher dividend each time it is dissolved. None the less, we must look for some method of preventing a rise in prices, and a free world market is perhaps the best way to ensure it. As long as we have the Government taking every possible step to make a close market for England, not to use the facilities which are at their command to open the market, but as far as possible to restrict it, we shall have the corollary of a rise in prices. Therefore, even though the actual method of doing this thing through the Department of Overseas Trade may not commend itself to the Government, they should take similar steps to deal with the problem; otherwise,, sooner or later, just as they found before, they will again find an inevitable rise in prices destroying this scheme on which all our hearts are set.
§ Mr. LORDEN
I did not propose to deal with the question of rings and so forth until the end of my speech, but as the last speaker has referred to the subject and he thinks that every material bought out of England is better than the material which our British people produce—[HON. MEMBERS: "He did not say so"]—I feel I must say something in favour of British manufacturers. The hon. Member said that he knew nothing about the subject. He stated that Belgian cement is as good as British cement. As a matter of fact there is no comparison between the two. Belgian cement is a Portland cement, so called, but it cannot compare with the English article. I was very much struck by the line taken by the right hon. Member for Northampton (Mr. 551 McCurdy) and very much astonished at it, for he happened to be a member of the Government which did these very things. That is the curious part of it. He was in the Government when Dr. Addison turned the somersault which he objects to so strongly. I happen to know something about that question. When Dr. Addison first brought in his Bill I went to him and said, "You have excluded private enterprise altogether. You have put the municipalities into a position in which they cannot supply you with houses until at least two years have elapsed. You are expecting them to make bricks without straw." Further, at the request of a borough council of which I happened to be a member—and was a member of the Housing Committee—I went with the surveyor of the borough to Sir James Carmichael and said, "Private enterprise has offered to build in this borough 600 houses and to put them up before Christmas, 1919, if you are prepared to give them some encouragement." I will explain what encouragement they wanted.
They are a well-known firm, and before the War they had been building houses which were costing them £300 each. They had the sewers in, the roads laid; they had a large quantity of material, scaffolding and so forth, ready for a start to be made. They wanted £150 subsidy. For that subsidy they were prepared to allow 5 per cent. per annum for 20 years off the rent. I said, "Here is a scheme. Private enterprise will solve in that borough the whole housing problem." What was the answer? It was, "No; the community must own the houses." Let us hear the result. When Dr. Addison brought in his Bill by which houses might be purchased, what happened? The borough council purchased those houses, built on that very same land, for £900 and more, and to-day the community is finding from £1 to 30s. a week on each of the houses, whereas £150 per house as a subsidy at the beginning would have solved the whole problem. I can give chapter and verse for my statement. I have stated the fact in this House three times before. I have the whole of the papers at home, and in looking over them recently I could not help thinking what idots we have been to exclude private enterprise. Now we find the right hon. Member for Northampton suggesting that 552 it was a topsy turvy sort of business. So it was. I admit that I do not believe in subsidies and that I did not like the idea of subsidies at the time. But when we see the result, that you have bought the houses and that you are paying £1 to 30s. per week on every one of the houses, I am obliged to reconsider my opinion.
This Bill has gone some way towards making right that topsy turvydom, but I am afraid it does not go quite all the way. I quite agree with the right hon. Member for Northampton that we shall want further assistance before we can get private enterprise into these schemes. They want confidence. They want to know what is going to be done later on. If you can give them that confidence I believe you will get them into these schemes. They are quite ready to build but they have not got the cash to do it. The small speculative builder is the only man who can produce these houses. There is no use in going to the big contracting firms. You have to go to the small speculative builder who takes his coat off and works himself and shows the others the way to do it. I have never been in the house-building industry myself. I have been in the building industry all my life, and so have all my forbears, for many generations, but we have never been in the house-building industry.
Let me relate one incident to show how I became acquainted with it. Years ago I was in business with my father, and he saw people doing speculative building, and he said, as others were doing it, he saw no reason why he should not also start to do it. I said, "All, right, father, fire away and I shall do anything I can to help, but I am sure you will fail." He did fail, because he had been used for many years to an entirely different class of building. He bought the land—some of it I have got to-day—and, having got the land, he allowed a speculative builder to start putting houses up, but when he went over the work with a plumb line and a level, he said "I cannot have this sort of work," so he took it into his own hands and did it himself. Those houses cost such a sum that we have never been able to sell them. I shall give another instance which shows how the speculative builder gets on. A certain amount of land came into the market and was about to be put up for sale by auction. I suggested to my 553 father that we should purchase it, but he said that we did not want it. I went to the auction myself. There were no bidders, and while I was there the auctioneer offered me the land at a ridiculously low figure. I had not any money of my own at the time, but I borrowed the money and bought it. I did not build upon it, but I got a man who who was in the speculative line, and I let the land to him at a low ground rent. He improved his ground rent, and I purchased his improved ground rent at 20 years' purchase, and afterwards sold the whole ground rent for 25 years' purchase, making a profit on the whole deal. The man who ultimately bought the ground rent got the houses, and I believe has them to-day, and they are quite good houses to-day, although what I am speaking of occurred 40 years ago.
I welcome the Bill because, as I say, it tends to do away with some of that topsy turvydom which we saw in the first instance. I would point out to hon. Members who say that there is such a demand for houses that it is a matter which requires examination. It is said that every public body has got a very big list of applicants. In the borough with which I have been associated for many years they had an enormous list of people requiring houses. When we went into that list we found that there were on it a large number of people who were already quite well housed, but who thought they would like to go into a new house, and particularly into a subsidised house, with somebody paying part of the rent for them. I do not say that all the applicants for houses are of that type, but this does tend to swell the lists of the municipalities and county councils. There are people who want something a little better than they have got, as I suppose we all do, and they want to get a part of the subsidy which somebody else is providing. I am very glad to see the Minister of Health bringing in the Bill, and I am more than delighted to see how he proposes to deal with the Small Dwellings Act, although I want him to go a little further. We are glad to see a business man and a municipal man in charge of the Bill, and we hope he will bring to bear the lessons which he has learned in both those spheres for the advantage of the community.
554 Prior to 1909, as the Minister pointed out, a very large number of houses was being built every year. Since that unfortunate Finance Act was passed there has been a considerable diminution. You may say, if you like, that it is not all due to that Act, but it is very largely so. At the time I fought strongly against that Act, because I saw what was going to happen, and there is not the slightest doubt we are suffering to-day for it. The right hon. Gentleman who introduced that Bill and made it an Act, required a great deal of courage when he become head of the Aministration to scrap it, but he acknowledged he had made a mistake. I suppose everybody must make a mistake occasionally, and those who do not make mistakes often make nothing at all. It was a great point that the right hon. Gentleman should have been willing to scrap the Act which he thought was going to do so much good, but which actually did harm. We want to bring in the small builder—the man who is going to put up from two to 20 houses. You do not want to bring in people who are going to put up streets and so forth, but the Bill does not go quite far enough to enable this object to be achieved, and I hope that in Committee the right hon. Gentleman will be prepared to consider reasonable Amendments, although we quite understand that he is not going to scrap his Bill, or to risk his proposals with regard to the smaller houses. There is a great deal to be said for the smaller houses being subsidised, although it is rather difficult to see how the private builder is ultimately to get any advantage from it. Still, these houses are probably houses which are difficult to build by private enterprise.
It has been the custom to run down the houses which were built by the speculative builder in the past. Why did he build those houses? Because they were the houses demanded and the houses required. They were the houses that sold, and they were the houses that let, and therefore he supplied them. There is no doubt that if you want something different he will be quite ready to supply that also. Furthermore, it is all very well to say that we only want 12 houses to the acre. I would rather see the houses closer together with a recreation ground, and I am under the impression that this would provide greater advantage than putting the houses so widely apart. There 555 is a Clause with regard to streets on which I shall speak later on, but I wish to say here and now that I do not believe in urban districts you ought to construct streets of a less width than 40 feet. That gives a wider space for vehicles, and affords many amenities.
We have the lessons of the previous Acts in this matter, and if the first Act had given any encouragement to private enterprise we would not be in the sad state we are in to-day. There was an opportunity then of obtaining houses, but to-day the right hon. Gentleman has a most difficult task to resuscitate the builders who built the houses in the past. There have been various failures. Some of the houses, such as those built by the London County Council at Roehampton, were costing £1,700, and it is ridiculous to say they would ever fetch anything like £500. It has been suggested that the high cost is due to a ring of builders, but, as has been asked by the right hon. Member for Northampton, what were the builders to do? They were asked to compete; they were asked to do the work, but where can you find any firm of builders of repute or otherwise who built houses under the Addison scheme and who have made money out of it, although the price was so high? I could show you scores who came along with prospectuses and said they were going to do this, that and the other thing, and who had contracts for numbers of houses, but what happened? They never got through with them, they never finished their contracts. They went "broke" before they had completed the work.
§ 7.0 P.M.
§ Mr. LORDEN
You Dray have some exceptions, but I am taking the general rue, and I know nothing about that firm, although I have heard of it. Fault has been found with the houses built by the speculative builder, but what sort of houses were built under the Addison scheme, and how long will they stand? Every crank idea possible was put into these houses, and many of them, in 20 years' time, will cost a great deal more for maintenance and upkeep than the rent they produce. Therefore, I think the wise policy of the Government will be to say to the people, and to the councils: "Sell the houses at whatever 556 price they will fetch." I believe that in the near future there will be such an increase in the cost of maintenance that it will be a great advantage to let the tenants have them at almost any price. [HON. MEMBERS "Put it on the poor people!"] Not at all. It is not because you want to catch the people, but because when a man lives in a house and owns it, he takes an interest in it, and has repairs executed at once, and a stitch in time often saves not nine but 90. A broken waterpipe or a loose tile may do enormous damage if it is left for some time, but if it is put right at once, the result is very little damage. You will find that in these houses an, enormous amount of repairs will be required, and I should get rid of them at any price they will fetch. When the municipality is the landlord, the tenant is not going to trouble. He is not going to drive a nail or turn a screw. If the door handle is coming off, and the set screw coming out of it, he will write to the landlord and ask him to put it on. That is the difference between a man owning his house and one who has got the municipality for his landlord. There was one thing the Addison scheme did do cheaply. It bought the land under market price. There are thousands of acres which could be let to private enterprise builders at a ground rent. I would let them do the same as I did, with my little speculation. I would let them improve the ground rent, and I would be man enough to recommend the local authorities to purchase the improved ground rent, because then the builder would be able to sell his house at less than it cost to build. In the past, the backbone of the small builder has been the profit he has made in the improved ground rent. Unless you are going to do something like that, you will not get the small builders into this. While they are building, on the local authority's land, and they have the power to finance it, they have it, all in their own hands.
I should think it would suit some of the Labour party to let on a long lease. Hon. Members believe in owning the houses; why not let on a 99 years' lease; then, when that lease falls in, the community will own them. That is a method. I am not particularly keen on leaseholds, though I should like to see all leaseholds become enfranchised. I believe, in time, that will be so. A 557 man cannot possibly buy the land as well as build the house, but he can pay a small ground rent, and thereby you would bring in private enterprise. It is houses that we want, and I do not think the method of obtaining them, so long as it is fair and square, matters very much. Another question that will prevent private enterprise coming in is that of repairs. I hope the Minister of Health—although, perhaps, he cannot do it in this Bill—will, in some future Measure, make it compulsory upon a tenant to keep the house clean and free from vermin. That is one of the greatest drawbacks in regard to small property. A dirty tenant is a very great nuisance, not only in regard to the house he occupies, but to the public health. There is one point on which most of us agree. In Sub-section (2) of Clause 1 the Minister has set out the minimum and maximum sizes of his houses. There has been a great deal of controversy about that. I hope the right hon. Gentleman will see his way, not to increase the area of superficial feet largely, but so to increase it that if houses be built, the maximum number of superficial feet shall be something above the total there stated. It should be increased by 50 or 100 feet, or, better, by 150 feet. That would give a parlour which would be large enough.
I come to Clause 2. The right hon. and learned Member for Spen Valley (Sir J. Simon) has touched on one of the points as to which I am very anxious. An extension has been made of the Small Holdings Act. It is a very good extension, but a little more is wanted. Paragraphs (b) and (c) of Sub-section (3) should also be made to apply to that Act. I cannot conceive why, if you are going to encourage housing, you should not give an opportunity to the local authority to guarantee or to pay off interest on the loan that has been advanced. That would be a great help toward getting more houses. With regard to the rates, I know what the right hon. Gentleman said in introducing the Bill. He does not like to tinker with the rates. As an old municipal hand, I can quite sympathise with him. The rates seem to be sacred; but the rates, and the Schedule A tax, at the present time, are a very great drawback to these small houses. I cannot see why some small, compulsory rebate cannot be 558 made from the rates, to enable the occupier, during the first five or 10 years, to occupy the house until we get back to quite reasonable prices in building. I know that some of the central authorities and the county councils say we cannot do that. As a man interested in municipal work, I am inclined to feel that way also. But we are now at a time such as has never existed before. Unless you take it now, you will lose it for ever, and not only the authorities, but the Government, will have to build entirely for people who have a less income than £5 a week. That will be a very serious state of affairs.
I want to urge, that in Clause 5, Subsection (2, a), the Minister should put in a definite percentage, and that it should not be more than 5 per cent. We have heard that the Scottish people have borrowed money at something like 3 per cent. or 3½ per cent., which made one's mouth water. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh!"] At any rate, it was suggested by an hon. Member, on this side, that they were able to get money even below 4 per cent. I will not go below that. I will say 4½ per cent. If it can be borrowed at that sum, surely to goodness the expenses of administration ought not to be more than per cent. I therefore press that the loans should not bear interest on more than 5 per cent. In regard to Clause 5, Sub-section (2, b), I take it that 50 per cent. of the value of the site may be advanced. What we want to know is, how will a leasehold site be dealt with? Will no advance be made unless the site is owned by the builder? That is a very important point, which we ought to have cleared up in the Bill. There is no superficial extent mentioned in Sub-section (3), in regard to the £1,500, and I take it that the house can be as large as the builder likes, provided that it does not cost more than £1,500. I believe you would want at least 1,600 superficial feet to provide a residence with really comfortable and large rooms. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear!"] That is in regard to these houses and not where the subsidy occurs. I like home, and I like other people to have nice homes, also.
There is another question to which I would refer. Under Sub-section (1) of Clause 5, the Metropolitan borough councils should in my opinion, have the right to appeal to the Minister. The 559 London County Council are a very autocratic body. As one who has served on both bodies, I think that where there is a difference, of opinion between the two, as to whether they want houses in their district or not, or as to whether advances are to be paid, they should have the right of appeal to the Minister. I hope to put down an Amendment to that effect during the Committee stage. I come to Clause 12, under which the Minister has power to approve of bye-laws relating to the construction of new streets. I want him to put in another Clause, to apply to the Metropolitan borough councils. I do not think those councils ought to be excluded. Provision should be made that when a road becomes a new street, and is taken over and made up by the local authority, the cost, which at present comes to something between £50 and £70 per house—15 or 20 years ago the cost was from £15 to £20—and is a very serious item, should be distributed over a period of 10 years. Many people say, "Why should the frontager be compelled to make up the road according to the views of the borough council"? There my municipal experience comes in. I think it is a very wise provision. Otherwise, I should perhaps feel with them that the road might be made up by the local authority. When, however, you have expenses of £50 to £70, which are three times the amount of profit a man will make out of a house, some help must be given in making up the roads. I hope the Minister of Health will make it apply in some way to London, as well. I can quite imagine the London County Council not wanting to be interfered with.
We come to Clause 17, of which I so very much approve, and which is a great advance. With regard to paragraph (c), I cannot imagine why we should put in the condition that a man must occupy the house for a period of five years from the date when the advance is made. If he has to occupy the house for five years, how many will build when their work may take them away after a short period? It is unreasonable. If there must be some occupation, which I do not think is at all necessary, many people will build a pair of houses, one for themselves and one, probably, for their son or friend, and will let it. Are you going to stop that sort of thing? I do not know 560 why paragraph (c), requiring a man to occupy the house, has been put in at all. Certainly, five years is an unreasonable time, when business interests may cause his removal, and anything may happen during that period. Yet he is limited; he cannot sell, or do anything with the house; he must occupy it. I hope that provision will be modified; and the thing might be enlarged so that anyone who builds the house may have the advantage of letting it if he does not want to live in it. There is, again, the question of the value of the site to be taken into consideration, and that means a freehold site. Here, again, I would appeal to the Minister and ask what he proposes to do with a leasehold site? I hope a leasehold will not bar anybody from getting an advance on a house.
I have dealt with the question of rings, but I had the honour, when the right hon. Member for Northampton (Mr. McCurdy) was presiding over the Profiteering Committee, to preside over the brick, tile, and stoneware trade, and I found there that there were certain combinations which had been brought about in this way. During the War the Government desired to have collective bargaining, and they asked these people to get together and formulate what would be a fair thing to pay their people, just the same as the trade unions decided what they wanted. When you had once got them together, they saw that there was something in combination, and they remained in combination, just the same as the trade unionists. If there are trade unions, there must be other combinations to combat the trade unions, or to keep them in check. We made a recommendation, which I will presently read. I believe you can stop all these rings and profiteering by publicity. At the present time limited companies have to lodge at Somerset House particulars of their profits. I would enlarge those particulars that have to be delivered, and I would have delivered particulars of firms where they are in combination. Our recommendation was as follows:We are of opinion that where in any trade there are associations controlling 60 per cent. or more of an industry, steps should be taken to safeguard the interests of the community. We would, therefore, suggest that every such association should be required to obtain from its members, and at the end of each 12-monthly period 561 publish, a statement showing the average trading profit, the average net profit in relation to the turnover of the industry, in so far as it is covered by such association, the average ratio of turnover to capital, and the average wages earned per hour by skilled, semi-skilled, and unskilled labour.If those particulars were given, the public Press would be able to go and see what was being done. It would give an indication of whether an unfair profit was being made or whether there was a retarding of output in the interests of any trade. I do not believe in the retarding of output, either by manufacturers or by men. I believe that everyone should give of his best to the community, and I am as strongly against combines which retard industry and output as I am against the trade unionist who does not give a fair day's work. They are all in the same category, to my mind, and, therefore, I believe that if we were to have an Amendment such as this it would be a good thing. It is very necessary, in our complicated system of industry at the present time, that we should know whether people are making a fair profit, whether they are paying a fair wage, and whether they are making more than a fair profit on their turnover or on their capital. I have dealt with the Bill in some detail, but this is an important occasion, and I know something about building and about housing, so that I feel that it is only right that I should say something on this matter. I hope it will be helpful to the Minister, and I am prepared to help him all I can, if I can be of any use at all.
§ Mr. MARDY JONES
The hon. Member for North St. Pancras (Mr. Lorden) gave us a great discovery in regard to the failure of private enterprise in the building of houses, and we know now from him, as an experienced building contractor, that the reason why we do not get houses by private enterprise is because a plumb line is not introduced. In regard to his contention in regard to jerry building, perhaps it will interest the hon. Member if I relate an actual incident which occurred in South Wales during the great storm of 1913. Two building contractors were travelling together the next day, and one of them was very glum. His friend asked what was the matter. I should say that both were contractors in the same town and had built two streets of houses. The man with the glum appearance said, "The storm yesterday has blown down half my houses." His friend, who was 562 very cheerful, said, "I have been luckier. All the houses I built are still standing strong.' "How do you account for that?" said the other builder. "Oh," he replied, "the houses have been occupied for nearly 12 months, and fortunately the tenants have papered the walls." That will, I think, illustrate the stability of a jerry-built house.
I should like to refer to the speech of the Minister of Health in explaining the Bill yesterday. I followed that speech as closely as possible, and I must say that it v, as a very lucid statement of the provisions of the Bill, but I think he was rather unfair to the Labour party when he twitted us with having long ago made up our minds to oppose any Housing Bill of any sort. That is really not the attitude of mind of the party to which I have the honour to belong. I venture to say that this party is as sincere as any party in this House in its desire to get houses built, either by private enterprise, or by public enterprise, or by the co-operation of both. It is quite evident that the present Bill is but a partial attempt to link up private and public enterprise, backed up by State subsidies and assistance from the rates by local authorities. The Minister was frank enough to admit that the Bill will not solve the housing problem and that it will merely act as a temporary experiment, subject to review after two years' trial. That was a frank admission, but even as an experiment I venture to say that there is no hope of success unless the Bill is materially improved in Committee on a number of important points.
We must have a very radical improvement in the space allotted to the type of houses that have to be built. We were pleased to learn from the right hon. Gentleman yesterday that while the word "parlour" was not in the Bill, he did propose in the space allotted to make room for a parlour, but the actual sizes of the rooms that he himself gave us yesterday are very unsatisfactory indeed, and I hope the suggestion of the hon. Member for North St. Pancras, himself a builder of experience, will be taken by the Minister, and that we shall have at least 100 to 200 extra feet thrown into the minimum standard of house. A parlour, I suggest, is a vital necessity in practically every working-class house. There are far too many non-parlour houses in this country, and we should 563 discourage the construction of many more. I do not suggest that every house should be of the parlour type. There may be a case in certain parts of the country, and in some percentage in most parts of the country, for a non-parlour type of house, but at least half of the houses to be built should have a parlour of a large and commodious size. This is essential, because in the average working-class home, of father, mother, and several children, whether young children growing up and attending school or children who have grown up and are working and perhaps about to settle down to a married life of their own, a parlour is a necessity.
The second improvement we desire in the Bill—and I speak on this, at any rate, for most of the local authorities in South Wales—is with regard to the State subsidy, which appears to be a fixed rate of £6 per house. We hope that that flat rate will not be adhered to, but that the subsidy will be based on a sliding scale, at a higher maximum than £6 for 20 years, or at a lower maximum for 60 years, because the variety of circumstances is so great over the country that it, would be far better to have a sliding scale, so that we could adapt the subsidy to the needs of the various regions with their differing circumstances. The third modification that we hope will be put in, either in this Bill or in a separate Measure, is that the Minister should give us the assurance in law that he was good enough to refer to in his speech yesterday, namely, that the Government are going to use the power they have got to prevent the profiteering hogs from dominating the building trade of the country. We want prices to be kept within reasonable limits for all building materials, and when houses are built and then sold to the occupiers, I hope the control will also have reference to the prices at which they are sold.
The fourth point to which I wish to refer is this: The Bill will stand or fall, so far as public support is concerned, on this, that whatever particular method or series of methods of constructing houses may be adopted, the vital point after all, from the workman's point of view, is the rent at which he is going to get a house, and I hope the rental that will be fixed will not be the economic rent at all. It 564 is quite obvious that that will be impossible, but I hope it will be a rent commensurate with the wages prevailing in each industrial and rural region. If we can secure a number of Amendments on these lines, I think the Government will carry the country with them and will rally the best elements in the building industry, both capital and labour, to co-operate with the local authorities in providing adequate, decent homes at fair rents for the masses of the people.
The Government must, I suggest, treat the experimental period of two years outlined in the Bill as the beginning of a national housing reconstruction policy to solve the housing problem within the next ten years or so. Surely it is not beyond the wit of British statesmanship to find means whereby we can provide adequate houses for the people of this country over that period of ten years or so, because even if this Bill is going to be amended in Committee along the lines we are expecting on this side of the House, it will not provide nearly sufficient houses to meet the requirements of the normal increase in the population. Yesterday the Minister made a statement in which he estimated that we have at present four and a half persons on an average occupying the houses in Great Britain. He made the point that, prior to the Budget of 1909, the average number of houses built in this country was about 80,000 a year, but that following that Budget, and largely because of the fiscal proposals in that Budget, the number of houses which were built fell to an average of about 46,000 a year right up to 1914. He also stated that the increase in population in the decennial period from 1911 to 1921 was a little over 181,000 a year. That is true of England and Wales, but the decennial figures, if Scotland is included, work out at 193,000 a year on an average. The number of houses built by State assistance, we are told, is about 215,000, and these houses have been built during the period from 1919 up to the present moment. Of this total, he said that 161,000 were required solely to meet the increase of population.
I have checked these figures by the Census figures, and I rather think there are certain inaccuracies in some of these particulars, because I find, according to the Census of 1921, the population of Great Britain was 42,767,530, and that the 565 Minister's average of four and a half persons per house means that you must have at the present time about 9,500,000 houses, plus the 50,000 houses required to meet the increase of population since the last Census. I have not been able to secure a return of the number of houses shown in the Census of 1921. I understand the figures are not available, but if they are available to the Minister in charge of the Bill, it would be an advantage to this House to know. The latest Census return we have on housing is that for 1911, and, according to that, we have in Great Britain 8,155,150 inhabited houses. The Minister stated yesterday that the Liberal Government's average production of houses was about 46,000 in each of the years following the Budget of 1909. Let us put it at 50,000. Therefore, for the three years 1912, 1913 and 1914, we have built in this country about 150,000 houses: from 1915 to 1918 practically no houses were built at all, and, from 1919 up to the present moment, it is safe to say that the total number of houses built has been less than 250,000. So that the total number of houses built in Great Britain from the period of the last Census to date is about 400,000. Adding that to the total of known inhabited houses in 1911, at the present moment we have in Great Britain something over 8,500,000 inhabited houses. If that is correct, the estimate made yesterday by the Minister of four and a half persons per house may be very much out.
§ The MINISTER of HEALTH (Mr. Chamberlain)
The hon. Member has misinterpreted what I said yesterday. I did not say four and a half persons per house, but that four and a half is the average number of persons in a family.
§ Mr. MARDY JONES
I am very glad the. Minister has been good enough to enlarge upon his statement of yesterday. In that case, it comes to this, that the average number of persons, including lodgers, and everybody else, works out at about five persons per house. In any case, the point I wish to make is that the Minister does not seem to have appreciated to the full extent the probable increase of population in the current decennial period. He made the point in his speech that the average increase in the last decennial period was about 181,000 persons per year. Beyond 566 that, he said nothing. We were left to assume that something similar would be the position in the coming 10 years, but I venture to say that the increase of population in the coming 10 years is likely to be far in excess of what it was in the last 10 years. [An HON. MEMBER: "Why?"] I will give the reason in a moment. According to the Census returns of 1911, there was then an increase of population over the previous Census of 1901 of 3,831,450 persons. The increase for the decennial period up to 1921 was only 1,936,134, which shows that the steady increase in population throughout all the decennial periods from the beginning of the nineteenth century upwards was well above 10 per cent. until the War, when it was reduced in the last decennial period to about 5 per cent. Therefore, there has been a drop of nearly 2,000,000 during the decennial period covering the War. Surely it is not an elaborate estimate to assume that the population in the next Census, 1931, will certainly be at least 3,000,000 greater than in 1921, and probably 4,000,000.
The point I wish to make, and to which I desire to draw the attention of the Minister, is that, in all probability, we shall have a population in 1931 of 46,000,000 people in Great Britain, and, at five persons per house, it will mean that we shall require at least 9¼ million houses at that period. This shows that at the present moment, in the year of grace, 1923, we need to build a minimum of 100,000 houses every year for the next 10 years, if we are merely to keep pace with the increase of population, without at all reducing the overcrowding that is known to exist. But, according to the financial statement which has accompanied the Housing Bill, it is evident that the Ministry of Health estimate that, if their Bill goes through and is put into operation, we shall build State-assisted houses on an average of 60,000 for each of the two years covering the period of the Bill. Assuming that, in addition to the State-assisted houses, private enterprise, public utility societies, and other authorities build, say, another 20,000, which, I think, is a very good estimate of the probable building we shall get outside State assistance, it will mean that for the first two years covered by this Bill, there will be an annual shortage of 20,000 houses on the minimum of 100,000 a year 567 necessary to keep pace with the increase of population. The Government ought to face these facts of the growth of population, and enlarge their housing Bill accordingly.
I wish to say one or two words with regard to the situation as we find it in the South Wales coalfield, the population of which, and its seaboard of Newport, Cardiff, Swansea and Llanelly, is over one and three-quarter millions. The bulk of the population of Wales is in that congested area. There has been in the South Wales coalfield, not in the last five, 10 or even 20 years, but always since the days of the industrial revolution, a shortage of houses for the people. Not only has there been a shortage of houses, but in the most prosperous period of the development of the mining industry in South Wales, the people have been abominably housed. I have no desire to occupy the time of the House in harrowing the feelings of Members with details of the conditions. The conditions are no worse in any part of Great Britain than they are to-day, I regret to say, in many of the older portions of the coalfield of South Wales, and I want the Minister to realise that I am speaking not merely my own opinion and determination, but for the entire mining population of South Wales, when I say that we will not tolerate any schemes of housing in South Wales which leave out a good sized parlour for the houses that are built. There is not a single local authority in any mining centre of South Wales that will function the powers of this Bill unless that provision be put in during the Committee stage.
The mining population of South Wales is neither better nor worse than any industrial population in any other part of Great Britain, but I do claim that the people there are a clean-living and a very studious body of people, despite the sordid surroundings in which too many of them have to exist. There are thousands of growing boys and girls in our mining areas who are very studious, who want to take advantage of all the educational facilities, and who want enlarged educational facilities. What is the attitude of the Government on this matter? I am not satisfied that they are looking ahead to the needs in the homes of the 568 people for adequate amenities for a social and educated life. I myself have been brought up in a very small cottage, but even in that small cottage we had a commodious parlour. In similar homes most Members of the party to which I belong, and also, I believe, some Members of other parties, have been brought up, and have had a spare room in which, without interruption of home life, they were able to carry on their studies I assure the Minister that there is no point in this Bill which is so bitterly resented as the inadequate provision of a parlour in the type of houses they are going to build. Even the financial proposals are less distasteful, and, whatever else happens, if the Government wish to see this Housing Bill received by the people, carried out in the industrial areas and adequately administered, they have to make provision in that way.
I wish to draw the attention of the Minister to one particular point which, to my mind, is not necessarily covered by this Bill, but which he will have to bear in mind in dealing with the needs of South Wales. Nature has decided for us largely the kind of life we have to live in the mining parts of South Wales. The greater part of that coalfield is very mountainous in character. It is divided physically into 14 main mining valleys. In each of these valleys there is a large and rapidly growing population. These valleys cover the richest portion of the South Wales coalfield right away from Monmouthshire, through Glamorgan into Carmarthenshire. These valleys are intercepted by mountain ranges of from 1,000 to 2,500 feet. The people live segregated, each valley living its own life, a complete community. Owing to the narrowness of the valleys, and the steep hillsides, most of the little bits of land of a sloping or flat nature in these valleys are already occupied either by houses, by industrial undertakings, or railways, with the result that you have this kind of anomaly in the Rhondda Valley. The Rhondda Valley is perhaps the biggest example we have of a population of 180,000, still increasing, with every acre of available land already taken up with houses, so that the local authority is not able to build any more houses in that locality. Personally, as one who has come from Rhondda, I hope they will never build another house. At the same 569 time the Rhondda urban authority requires at least 12,000 houses, and the neighbouring authority requires another 2,000. So far as Rhondda is concerned they cannot afford them there even if you give them that financial support they desire.
One of the late Ministers was good enough to appoint a South Wales Survey Committee to go into the whole of this question. That Committee has had serving upon it some of the best public men in South Wales. The Committee has also had all the advantage of the excellent knowledge of the Ministry and of the South Wales people concerned that anyone could desire. They made certain recommendations, and I wish to bring this to the notice of the Minister in regard to the needs of that area. They recommended that instead of leaving it to each of the smaller local authorities to go its own way, to build half a dozen houses here, and half a dozen there, that South Wales should take advantage of the scientific progress of the last few years, particularly in regard to transport facilities, and in regard to the garden city and town planning projects. This Committee recommended that we should build two dormitory towns, two residential towns on the edge of the South Wales coalfield, one near to the town of Llantrisant and the other near to the town of Bridgend. By building two large central residential areas on garden city lines, just away from where the bulk of the future mining developments will take place, it was considered that we shall solve the housing problem for all those teeming valleys. By means of adequate and cheap transport this can be realised, and we shall have the advantage of the men living 5, 10 or 12 miles away from the pits where they work, and merely going up the valleys for their working hours, and the greater advantage of the men's families, their wives and children, living away from the sordid surroundings and rubbish heaps of the pits and the smoke, and living instead in the beautiful country parts of the beautiful valleys of Glamorgan. That is not a dream of the future. That is a thing that can be realised by the present Government if they have the courage and determination to carry it out.
What is true of the South Wales coalfields is true of similar areas up and down 570 the country. I do hope that the Minister will put his foot down and give the local authorities that are inclined to be antiquated, backward, and out-of-date in their outlook a strong hint in this direction, and that in his Bill, or some Regulations made in connection with this Bill he will bear these points in mind. I venture to say with all due respect that if you can give us in South Wales some housing scheme on these lines within the next 10 years, you are going to do a great deal towards making the revolutionary spirit which now animates South Wales, as it does the Clyde and every industrial centre, a thing of the past. We have the extreme position in our political outlook generated for us by the social conditions in which we are compelled to live and work. I hope that the Government will give serious attention to this. Only last week there was a very representative conference of most of the local authorities in South Wales at Cardiff, and they were strongly opposed to the proposal of the Government Housing Bill mainly on two points, inadequate State assistance—that is the finance of the scheme—and also on the question of the parlour type of house. That conference appointed a deputation to visit this city, and to-morrow all the Welsh Members returned from Wales are asked to receive this deputation which will put the case for Wales, and particularly for South Wales, before it. As a Member of Parliament and of the Labour party we are determined to see to it that justice shall at least be done in any housing scheme proposed in this House.
§ Mr. W. E. PEASE
In venturing to address the House for the first time, I do not pose in any way whatever as an authority on house building, but merely as an individual who, more by force of circumstances than anything else, has been forced into the position of being responsible, or partly responsible, for building many hundreds of houses. I may say that I have been connected with house building and building schemes, and schemes of housing for municipal employés. I was connected with the building of houses under the Addison scheme, and also with the building of houses for private firms. I may tell the House from this experience that it is evident that you cannot possibly hope, whatever house you build, or to whatever trouble or pains you may go, for one 571 moment to satisfy every man or every woman with the house you put up for him. I daresay people speak about the inconveniences of their new houses. Perhaps hon. Members have personally had experience of it in houses of their own, and, therefore, they will not be surprised at anybody going into one of these smaller houses, finding some fault with them, and displaying a tendency to grumble. I think that one does come to some conclusions after the building of a great many houses, and one of those conclusions is that the type which is satisfactory and right in one part of the country is not at all a suitable class of house in another part. I think hon. Members will also come to the conclusion that certainly two types, or it may be three types, will have to be built to satisfy the requirements of the people.
In that part of the county of Durham of which I have most knowledge, and which is a pit district, we find an enormous demand for the small houses of three rooms. These rooms comprise a sitting room about 17 feet by 13 feet, a bedroom 16 feet by 12 feet, and a scullery, say, 12 feet by 10 feet. In that scullery there is what is called a Yorkshire stove. Next to it there is what looks like a table, but if you lift the lid of the table you disclose a bath with hot and cold water. There is also a sink and an ashpit closet, and a coal house in the yard outside. There is also a fairly large garden in front. These houses can be built for £285 including the cost of the roads, and the cost of railing in the garden. The superficial area of the house is 622 feet which is more than the smallest house suggested in the Bill. These houses are in great demand by young married couples. When the young men first marry they do not want to be compelled to have anyone in their houses. Naturally, they feel a desire to live by themselves. We find, therefore that these houses suit them very well for a period of years—sometimes longer, sometimes shorter—until the family begins to grow up and the house proves itself to be too small. The time, of course, eventually comes when that family may have to move to a larger house, and the type of house that they find best for them then is a four-roomed house or really a five-roomed house, consisting of a living room of the same sort of size as before, three bedrooms running, 572 none of them less than 12 feet square, perhaps a trifle larger. Then you have the scullery exactly the same as before, and you have the outhouses similar to the first house I have mentioned. These houses to-day are being built for £350 apiece each. They cover an area of 880 feet, which again is larger than the maximum under the Government scheme.
There is another house built in the district smaller than that, which runs out to 585 feet. Again, this is larger, infinitesimally larger, than the minimum under the Government scale. We find by experience that this house is not so well liked as the larger ones I have mentioned These houses are built in streets, and by building them in that way you avoid one or two weaknesses in the Addison scheme. There you dotted your houses 12 to the acre. In the towns near to where I live there they stand to-day houses two by two dotted over the land. The result is that the cost of the new roads and sewers, the new water mains, gas mains, and electric cables in the case of the Addison scheme were out of all proportion to what they ought to have been had these houses been built in streets. There is no necessity to make your streets too long, but there is no doubt about it from the practical point of view to build your houses in streets is far more economical, and you get a better house than if you build them in the way they were built under the Addison system.
The houses of which I am speaking were built by direct labour, the materials being provided for the workers. The total cost as I have given. I have had another experience in this matter and that is in building houses of the artisan type, and I think we must agree that this house must be of the parlour type. I remember being responsible for the erection of six houses for artisans of the character I am referring to, and I have in my mind what I call the perfect type of house in which they ought to wish to live. The house was designed with my ideas included. My great idea was a very large living room. I let some of my men see the plans, but they were not deceived with any great enthusiasm, and in the end I was referred to the "missus." Perhaps I need hardly tell hon. Members that in every case my plan was turned down by the "missus." She said, "No, a living room of this sort is no use to us, we must have a parlour." In the end 573 this plan was cut into and the parlour was built, which has given every satisfaction to those who have lived in it ever since. But it does show that when you get to the larger type of house than those of which I am speaking the parlour type of house is absolutely essential.
There is just one Clause to which I should like to refer. That is the Clause which gives power to the local authority, municipal or otherwise, to make it easier for those houses, in fact to give a subsidy in the form of a decrease in rates. I regard that Clause with the greatest apprehension. After some 25 years of municipal experience, I consider that the rate ought to be absolutely sacred, and I should very much fear giving the local authority the option of giving a subsidy in the form of a decrease in the rates. I should like to urge on the Minister that if that sentiment is found to be in any degree general in other parts of the House, he will give it his earnest consideration with a view to seeing whether it could not be removed. I am speaking of a smaller type of house than most of the other Members who have spoken on this subject; I am speaking of the cheapest type of house that is to be built, and, after all, houses must be built cheaply if you are to be able to let them at a reasonable rent. There is one conclusion which I have come to during my experience in house building, and that is that the two types of houses I have spoken of to-night are both of them larger than the types included in the Bill The smaller type of house of 550 feet may, and very likely will, be required in some parts of the country, but so far as our experience goes, it has proved too small. In regard to houses of the larger type, which under the Bill will cover 780 feet, we find that we want even a larger type of house than that. Ours, as I have said, are up to 880 feet.
§ Mr. AMMON
I am sure that all of us, irrespective of party, if I may be permitted to say so, will felicitate the hon. Gentleman, who has just addressed the House, on the speech he has delivered, which is full of information and knowledge of the facts of the case which he has to deal with. By a curious coincidence, yesterday the London County Council was discussing the problem of housing at the same time as this House. The Bill introduced by the right hon. 574 Gentleman was under discussion. I am bound to say that, although the members representing his own party defended the Bill as best they could, it was rather a case of damning it with faint praise. They felt that they had not a very strong case to defend, but they had to put up the best front they could. The position we are faced with at the present time can be estimated by the fact that, if we narrow it down to one county, two years ago the London County Council had a plan for building 29,000 houses, which was a conservative estimate of the needs of London. Unfortunately, the Minister of Health interfered with that and upset the plan, so that it was narrowed down to a few thousands. The London County Council have erected in that time something like 8,000 houses, but they have a plant in Becontree, 75 per cent. of which is useless owing to the action of the Minister in preventing the building schemes going forward.
The Member for North St. Pancras (Mr. Lorden) seemed to be doubtful as to whether the applications which had been received for houses were genuine applications. Up to April, 1922, there were 25,000 applications for houses on the books of the London County Council. That was after the number had been fined down, and a very large number bad been rejected. Surely it is reasonable to say that this cannot be any exaggeration, but must be in accordance with the situation created by the fact that normal building had been suspended during the War years. There has been no building to meet the ordinary normal demand of the population during those years. When the hon. Member suggested that it was merely a case of people wishing to move from one place to another, he was quite right, but I would point out to him that these are cases of people who are living in overcrowded houses and are wanting new houses, and of people who want to get married and have been living up to now with their parents. That is the sort of thing that is indicated in those figures I have quoted. I want to join with the hon. Member for North St. Pancras in suggesting to the Minister of Health that he might consider the suggestion for giving a greater increase in the area of houses. The plans which were submitted, and which were on view in the County Hall yesterday, show that the rooms provided under this scheme give those figures for the proposed new parlour type of 575 house. The parlour will be 10 feet 6 inches by 9 feet 6 inches, and one bedroom will be 6 feet 10 inches by 10 feet 6 inches. What is going to happen when they come to put a bedstead into a bedroom like that we may leave to the imagination. There are stories of people having put up bedsteads and having to take them down again in order to get out of the room, and I am afraid that is what will happen in this case. The worst of it is that, while this type of room was exceptional now, under the Minister's own suggestion these will be made a standard, and will be wholly inadequate for the needs of the people.
I want to reinforce what has been said about the needs of a parlour in the houses of working people. That is not a luxury but is an essential, and with growing families, and just now when we have so much talk and a certain amount, of good legislation passing through this House to protect young people, surely we should do all we can to encourage these young people and tie them to the formative influences of their homes. If we build houses like these, these young people will be driven into the streets where they will seek companionship instead of doing their courtship in the home and doing their necessary studies there. I hope that, at all costs, the Minister will reconsider this and, as far as he can, give us a parlour type of house with larger area which he has indicated. I do not want to go over the ground which has been so largely traversed already, but I want to call the Minister's attention and ask him for advice and further explanation in regard to one or two points in the Bill. In the ordinary way under Part III of the Principal Act, namely, the Housing of the Working Classes Act, 1890, the Council, since the passing of the Housing. Town Planning, etc., Act, 1919, is largely confined to the exercise of its powers outside London, but having regard to the provisions of paragraph (b) of Sub-section (2), it will be noted that the assistance to be given by the Council under the Clause must only be given in respect of houses inside London. One of the difficulties that arises under this Clause relates to the powers of the local authorities to refund rates. As the Council does not receive any rates directly from any person liable for their payment in this respect differing very largely from other local authorities 576 under Part III. of the Act of 1890, it is doubtful whether it would apply to the Council. For the purposes of the administration of Sub-section (4) there does not appear to be any satisfactory provision enabling the local authority to ascertain whether any addition to or enlargement of the house has been made without its consent and whether the house is used otherwise than as a separate dwelling-house, or whether any other part of the regulations made by local authorities with the approval of the Minister of Health have been complied with. So far as London is concerned, notice of any intended addition or enlargement of the house would probably have to be given to the district surveyor, pursuant to Section 145 of the London Building Act, 1894. He would, however, be under no obligation to notify the Council of any works referred to in the notice to him. It seems desirable, therefore, that, apart from any other general modification of Sub-section (4), to secure the effective administration of Clause 2, I suggest it would be desirable to insert in the Clause a provision similar to Section 12 of the Housing (Additional Powers) Act, 1919, which relates to the execution of that Act in London. Perhaps the right hon. Gentleman the Minister of Health will give some consideration to that.
I have only one other point, which concerns Clause 9 of the Bill. That has reference to the position of certain licensed premises. No one knows better than the right hon. Gentleman, from his municipal experience, that on insanitary areas there usually exists a considerable number of licensed premises, many of them of a very poor type, but they are rather lucrative to those who own them, and the actual structure having been rebuilt or kept in repair, can only be condemned when by reason of its position it obstructs light and air. This results that in order to effect the absolutely necessary destruction of a licensed house so as to enable a reconstruction of the surrounding insanitary area, a quite disproportionate expenditure is requisite from the all too slender funds available for dealing with slum areas. What I want to ask further information about is what will be done to ensure that it is no legitimate function of a local authority to take into consideration the extinction of licences, and that there should be no 577 opportunity for extremist temperance councillors to devoting money required for slum clearance to temperance matters. On the other hand, Licensing Justices would be probably only too willing to delay taking action on the assumption that the local authorities would take action and relieve them of a good deal of responsibility. Then it is not unreasonable to imagine that there might be a reduction of licences under consideration in certain areas which might be put off in the expectation that the local authority would face the expenditure necessary.
I want to suggest that it should be made quite clear that the local authority would pay the property value and the Licensing Justices the trade value, and that both authorities would be paying less than if either had to deal with the matter themselves. I will quote one instance to show what happens in this respect in London in the Boundary Street area. The scheme was executed prior to the 1919 Act. Eleven public-houses were demolished. Their claim for compensation amounted to, approximately, £45,000. Settlement was effected for, approximately, £15,000, of which no less than, approximately, £14,000 was paid for the value of the liquor trade. Similarly, in the Clare Market scheme, on nine demolished public-houses settlement was effected for £75,173, of which the compensation for trade amounted to £46,000. My point is to suggest that these figures ought not to fall as a charge upon the building scheme, or upon the local authority, and I hope the right hon. Gentleman will be able to give us some clear explanation of that point.
§ Mr. GILBERT
The Minister of Health, in introducing this Bill, said that he would be very willing to consider Amendments moved with the idea of improving the Measure. The small group of Liberal Members for whom I speak, and who represent London and Greater London constituencies, have spent a good deal of time in considering this Bill, and generally we are very anxious to support this Measure, because we realise that more housing accommodation is required, not only in London but in Greater London, and we are anxious to assist the Government's effort to provide more houses. In saying that I wish to state, that we think there are many points in this Bill which require very serious consideration, and I 578 am hopeful that when I have put my points to the Minister of Health he will be able to make some concession, or give us a promise that the points I am going to raise will be considered. My first point is as to the extent of the Act which was mentioned by the right hon. Baronet the Member for West Swansea (Sir A. Mond) yesterday, namely, that the grant is only to be given to houses completed before the 1st October, 1925. I think by putting that date into the Bill the right hon. Gentleman is only going to get a small number of houses from large municipal authorities who are willing to carry out this Bill. As the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Swansea pointed out, it will mean the middle of the summer before you get the Royal Assent to this Bill. After that the local authorities will have to consider it and prepare their plans, and then you will only get the buildings put up next year. Therefore you will only get a small number of houses unless you are prepared to extend the date fixed under Clause 1.
My next point is the question of the amount of the contribution to the houses. It is proposed by the Government that there shall be a contribution of payable for a period not exceeding 20 years. I wish to put before the Minister of Health and the House how this contribution will work out. The effect will be that you are going to put a very large charge on the municipal authorities who carry out the provisions of this Bill. The Government contribution is only for 20 years, and I presume that the ordinary local authority which is going to build houses under this scheme will borrow money on the usual housing terms of 60 years. That capital will have to be paid off in 60 years so far as the building and the land are concerned. Probably the cost of sewers and other such things will have to be repaid in 20 years. The effect of this £6 contribution will mean that for the whole period of the 60 years a very large contribution will have to be made out of the local rates, and while I think that the pressure on large municipal authorities like the London County Council will be strong enough to cause large municipalities to carry out building schemes with a gratuity of £6, I think the views which have been expressed by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Spen Valley (Sir J. Simon) to-day deserve the consideration of the Govern- 579 ment, because I have very grave doubts myself whether the smaller authorities will be prepared to build when they are going to have a liability of this kind hanging round their necks for 00 years.
May I give the House a few figures to bear out the argument which I am endeavouring to put before hon. Members? I will give some calculations made in regard to the type of houses in London that can be built under the present Bill. It is estimated that this type of house would cost £425 to build. In addition to that, the land would cost £25, the road charges £40, and the sewers about £35, and that would be a total gross cost of £525. On a 4 per cent. basis for the first ten years providing a sinking fund on a 3½ per cent. basis, the debt charges would be £30 11s. 4d. The rent you would get for such a house as I have described in London is estimated at 9s. a week exclusive of local taxes. The cost of repairs and management of such a house would take a third of that rent, and that would make the net rent about. 6s. per week which would bring in yearly £15 12s. as against the charge of £30 11s. 4d. for the first ten years. The deficiency would therefore be £14 19s. 4d. The Government subsidy is £6 which leaves an annual charge of £8 19s. 4d. for the first ten years. For the next ten years the debt charges would be £27 18s. 10d. The deficiency is therefore £12 6s. 10d. The Government subsidy is £6, and that leaves a net deficiency of £6 6s. 10d. which is nearly equal to the Government grant.
At the end of 20 years there is no further grant from the Government, so far as the local authority is concerned, and in the next 10 years the charge on the local authority would be £9 2s. 6d., while in the last 30 years it would be £6 17s. 5d. per annum. I know how difficult it is to quote a lot of figures, and I do not want to weary the House with more, but, if the calculation is made on another basis, from the point of view that the interest is coming down, it reduces the annual charge by a few shillings during the periods I have quoted. I think the effect of this, with all the recent charges which have been put upon local authorities by Bills that have been passed in this House, will be when it is worked out, that it will not make local authorities very enthusiastic 580 to carry out housing under the scheme proposed in this Bill. Therefore, what I am going to suggest to the Minister is that he ought to arrange for giving the Government subsidy over a much longer period than the 20 years proposed in the Bill. Probably he may reply that, if that is done, he might have to reduce the payment of £6 which is going to be made by the Government; but even if he does that, I think it would be very much fairer to the local authorities who have to build houses under this scheme, and I am certain that, if he considers such a proposal and will put it forward, he will get more enthusiastic support from local authorities in trying to work this Bill when it becomes an Act.
There is one other point that I should specially like to put to the Minister on this question of gratuity, in connection, particularly, with London. I think it was mentioned yesterday by my hon. Friend the Member for West Woolwich (Sir K. Wood). I believe it is a fact that, when first the amount of the gratuity was proposed by the Ministry of Health, it was considered whether there should be a standard gratuity for the whole country, and whether London, owing to the extra cost of building, should have a larger amount. I believe it was suggested that it should be £1 extra for the greater London area, where the rates for workmen are highest—what is called the 20-mile radius from Charing Cross—and that houses built in that area should be entitled to a larger gratuity from the. Government than in other parts of the country. Speaking purely from a London point of view, I hope the Minister will give favourable consideration to that point in regard to London, because I believe it will help him in getting houses built under this scheme.
Paragraphs (a) and (b) of Sub-section (2) deal with the size of the houses proposed under this Bill. I have listened to the Debate nearly all day yesterday and to-day, and I have heard no one express satisfaction with the size of houses proposed under this Bill. I want to join with other Members who have spoken, and to say that we in London are certainly not statisfied with the proposals made in these paragraphs. My hon. Friend the Member for North Camberwell (Mr. Ammon), who has just spoken, has mentioned that at the London County Council meeting yesterday plans 581 were exhibited showing the type of houses that could be built according to the sizes laid down in this Sub-section, and I am quite certain that, if those plans could be exhibited in the Lobby of this House, and it were pointed out to hon. Members what they would mean in regard to size, no one in this House would vote for the sizes proposed by the Minister in this Bill. A figure of 950 feet has been suggested by various speakers. I would suggest that it be made 1,000 feet, and also that the Government bonus should be payable, not only on the size, but on the cost of the house. If it were limited to houses costing up to £500, I think it would help local authorities in developing their own type of houses and giving the requirements that obtain in special localities; and if it is the right hon. Gentleman's object, as I believe it is, to get houses built, I believe that the more elasticity he puts into this Clause, instead of tying it down to 850 superficial feet, the better it will help the Government to get more houses built. I would respectfully ask the Minister to consider the suggestions that I have made.
In his speech yesterday, the right hon. Gentleman made a point that a great many people in London, even in the new houses that have been provided by the County Council, are living in what are called two-room tenements. I do not know whether the right hon. Gentleman realises it, but I think that if he goes into the rents that are charged, even under the Addison scheme, for two-room tenements in London, he will quite realise why these people are living in two-room tenements under the new scheme. I do not think, from my own knowledge, that they do so from choice; I think it is merely a question of rent. I do not know whether the right hon. Gentleman realises what the rents are for some of these two-and three-room tenements in buildings which have been put up by the London County Council. In my own constituency there is part of a slum area which has been dealt with by the County Council during recent years—the Tabard Street estate; and in one of the last houses built on that estate, called Geoffrey House, the net rent which the tenants have to pay, with local taxes in addition, for two rooms, is from 11s. to 12s. per week. That means that the gross rents, with taxes, are from 15s. 5d. to 16s. 11d. per week. At that amount of 582 rent you do not, and cannot, rehouse the type of person who is turned out of a slum area like Tabard Street. As regards the other tenements in the same building, in the case of the three-room tenements the rents, without taxes, are from 13s. 6d. to 14s. 6d., while for four-room tenements they are from 15s. 6d. to 16s. 6d., and for five rooms the rent is 18s. 6d Adding the local taxes on to that, and they are fairly high, it means a very big rent for that type of tenement, in a not very first-class neighbourhood. The result is that the tenants in that type of tenement—this is a tenement building, and the same standard of rent, more or less, applies to other such buildings that have been put up by the London County Council—are people who are more or less in permanent employment, people who, in the ordinary way, would live in a very much better type of house; that is to say, the houses which were really built for the poorer working classes are being occupied by what may be called the comfortable middle class.
This question of rent brings me back to the point I made before in regard to the size of the rooms. In view of the knowledge that we have gained in London from our experience of the Addison Scheme, we want to give as much freedom as possible, and not to tie down the type of house or the size of the rooms in the way that is done in Sub-section (2). Another Clause which the Minister mentioned yesterday, and which I am very pleased to see in the Bill, is Clause 3, dealing with slum areas. One of our difficulties in London, as regards housing, has been the question of dealing with slum areas. As my hon. Friend the Member for North Camberwell has just said, in some slum areas, such as Clare Market and the Shoreditch, Boundary Street, area, we have carried out slum clearances at very great expense. In those days we had no help from the Government, but the last Government brought forward an ear-marked sum of, I think, £200,000. Clause 3 goes much further than that, and I believe the effect of Clause 3 will be, as soon as you get a number of new buildings outside London, that it will help the County Council to deal with more slum areas in London. I was very pleased to hear the Minister say yesterday that he was still further considering the subject, and he hoped to bring in further legislation. I hope he 583 will, and though I do not know whether we have more slum areas in London than some of the larger towns in the North, at any rate, it is a very great drawback to life in a great city, and one of the best things a municipal authority can do is to spend money on getting rid of a great many of these slum areas. I hope the. Minister will favourably consider the points I have raised. If he can help to meet us on them, I believe it will assist him in getting the Bill through and it will have the effect of getting houses built, which all of us who have been connected with municipal life know is the first requisite to-day and what we all desire, and I hope he will achieve it under this Bill.
§ Lieut.-Colonel FREMANTLE
I should like to make a few remarks from the point of view of one who has essentially studied the question of housing for 20 years, for 15 of them as a medical officer of health, and more latterly in an administrative capacity in connection with the London County Council. I have also the extra advantage of addressing the House to-day inasmuch as some of my figures and writings have been already quoted from the other side in illustration of the conditions of housing that we want to meet. I do not think hon. Members opposite always give us on this side credit for recognising the facts. They often say the reverse in rather uncomplimentary language. But inasmuch as they have quoted me, I hope they will allow me to say I think the majority of my hon. Friends on this side are as keen on the realities of the housing question and the difficulties at present as I have been with the greater knowledge which it has been my duty to acquire in this matter, and no one on that side of the House can have a more intimate general knowledge of the disastrous effects of bad housing than I have had as a medical officer of health. I should like to make one or two remarks rather in correcting, in the true sense of the word, one or two of the references which have been made to the history of the movement in general. It is true, though it is not generally recognised outside, that the reduction in the provision of new houses began before the land Clauses of the Finance Act, 1909. A good many of us, seeing how rapid 584 was the reduction in 1910, rushed perhaps rather too much to the conclusion that it was due to that Budget. But one of my colleagues, who, I think, can be trusted to speak without any bias of any kind, except from the point of view of ascertaining the truth, made out that in one of the Northern industrial counties which may be considered fairly typical, a gradual decline had begun in the year 1901 or 1902 and continued from that date, and later investigation made into the subject bears out that general contention that the decline began about the beginning of this century, probably in connection with the South African War and other disturbances at that time. It was very much accelerated as the result, probably, directly of the political movement associated with the Budget of 1909, and has continued since.
My own feeling about the real cause of the decline of housing is that in as much as what maintained the supply of housing in old days was the much abused jerry builder and those who speculated with him, housing slackened because the speculative builder and the man who supplied the money to the speculative builder, namely, the artisan and the clerk who invested their money in this way, were no longer prepared to invest their money in the same way in the future. The reason for it, to my mind, is one of the reasons which it is quite useful for philanthropists and enthusiasts like myself and hon. Members opposite, as well as on these benches, to realise, that the more we throw responsibilities on to people who are exercising any money for any trade the more shall we be frightening off the use of the money in that trade or enterprise into other channels. You see it in all sorts of ways. You see it very largely with regard to the enormous responsibility conferred on parenthood. Nowadays people avoid parenthood. You see it in the same way as regards housing. So great are the responsibilities of erecting houses, so high a standard is demanded in every little detail, even in small houses, that you frighten people away from investing their money in such property, I think it is the growth of the demand for a higher standard—a growth naturally more rapid than the growth of means to satisfy that demand amongst the people who wish to enjoy it—which has really been responsible for frightening off private enterprise. I think people have 585 also found various other channels for investing their savings. In the old days there was little except the house in which you lived, and perhaps the Post Office Savings Bank, but as the result of education people have begun to realise other possible channels. By the spread of education they have come to gain confidence in other channels of investment which are familiar to us in various ways, and more especially latterly the development of War Savings and now the National Savings movement; and the education of the country that resulted from the War has taught people how others have managed usefully to invest money in the City, on the Stock Exchange and in various ways, and it has induced men of the artisan and trading class not to invest in such a difficult and hazardous investment as that of working-class housing, especially their own houses, because it ties them down, but rather to go and spend their money in other directions.
I have been surprised that as regards the different references made to high costs in the housing movement during the past two or three years, so little attention has been paid to the Report of the Committee of which Mr. Stanley Homes was Chairman in 1921. I thonght the Committee would like to be reminded of the main conclusions of that report as regards costs. I want, as far as I can in this Debate, as in all questions of housing, to dissociate myself from political bias on one side or the other. I should equally accuse rings of contractors of profiteering, just as I should say that the high prices and low output of labour almost merit the same words, if it were not that I should raise heat. We must avoid engendering heat in considering housing from the practical point of view. When we come to the question of the cost of materials we have the Report signed by the members of the Committee, and in general the result was this:By the flooding of the market …. with an unprecedented State-aided house building programme in excess of the building resources then available, and by rendering the congested conditions even worse by the restriction of the period during which such State aid as was necessary would be forthcoming,these conditions had a prejudicial effect upon the cost of building. The flooding of the market with a demand will inevitably raise the price of building 586 materials. That is one of the chief things that we have to consider. If we are to get what my hon. Friends on the other side of the House, as well as my hon. Friends on this side, wish, namely, a speedy solution of the housing problem, and if we had a sudden and enormous output of, say, half a million houses in two years, if it could be done, but it cannot, the result would be an enormous increase in the cost of building materials and of building, quite apart from the question of profiteering, and simply on the ground of the demand and the supply governing prices. The view of the Committee as regards the question of profiteering was summed up as follows:Both labour and materials will be more readily obtained and the output will be better, but if such is the case there is certainly no evidence that prices at the time of contract included any excessive margin for profit. There is, on the other hand, evidence that the profit being obtained is not unreasonable.We must take that as being the general conclusion, although there were large and glaring exceptions in certain cases in regard to materials, and in certain parts of the country. Take such a thing as Portland cement. These materials rose to a price corresponding to a figure of about 400. I believe it even went to 430 for Portland cement, as compared with a figure of 100 before the War. What proportion does this bear to the cost of building a house? It is a very small part. The main cost of materials only rose at the most to 200 or 230 as compared with 100 before the War. The main cost of building always is labour, and I am bound here to repeat, as regards my investigations into high prices, that labour, including the labour in materials and so on, costs something like 75 per cent. to 80 per cent. of the total cost of building. I have no figures, nobody has any figures, showing what is the cost of labour in a whole house, because it is impossible to dissociate the cost of labour in all the different materials; but we may take one particular figure of the cost of the builder and the builder's labourer.
What is material to our consideration is not the wages nor the hours worked, but the actual output. I know perhaps as well as any hon. Member what are the fallacies in the comparison as to the output of a bricklayer and a bricklayer's labourer. I went very thoroughly into the question with a manager who seemed 587 most fair, honest and able to give me a decided return. We went into the figures for a particular contract, which was one of several contracts under the London County Council, and I have no reason to believe that this particular contract differs from any of the others. The figures were that in 1914 wages per hour in the building trades were 10½d., whereas in 1920–21 they were 2s. 4d. an hour. In March, 1922, they were 2s. an hour. The hours worked before the War were 10, and since the War 8. The bricks laid per day varied. On a job before the War a man on a comparatively straightforward job would lay 800 to 1,000 bricks in a day, whereas in the worst time, in 1920–21, he only laid 200. Last March, the figure had got up to 500. The cost per brick laid as compared with 100 before the War had thus gone up in 1920–21 to as much as 853. In March of last year it had come down to 293.
§ Lieut.-Colonel FREMANTLE
I have looked a good deal into the figures, and I should be glad if the hon. Member would give me other figures. The figures I have given are the result of three years' investigation. I am trying to be absolutely unbiassed. I should be glad to be corrected, because if my figures are wrong I shall not give them again. The figures were published in the "Times" and the "Morning Post," 18 months ago. [HON. MEMBERS: "That is your authority."] They have been published in other newspapers, including, I think, the "Daily Herald" and the "New Statesman," and I have had no refutation of them up to now. Perhaps my hon. Friends opposite will supply me with alternative figures. At any rate, I think they will find that the cost of labour rose to between 700 and 800 as compared with 100 pre-War. I think it rose to a figure as high as 853. I do not want to impute motives but, undoubtedly, War slackness did affect a great many people and affected the output, especially on State-aided housing schemes.
The question is what is happening now. I am informed from the experience of those who are working the London County Council housing schemes that although wages are keeping up—and I am glad that they are, taking into account the cost of living—well above the level 588 before the War, and the hours worked are less, the output per hour is now approximating to what it was before the War. Whether that will continue or not under the big schemes is doubtful, because at the present time the contractors say that they have the great advantage that they can, to a certain extent, select their men. Men who do not work so well as others and do not put their hearts into the work do not have the same chance as the men who do. I believe that the psychology of the matter is not so deliberate and intentional as may be suggested by the employers' side. I think people are tumbling more to the need of housing, and are tumbling more to the need of working, and are doing their best to get houses.
If we do not force the pace on housing I believe we shall get a good output under this new scheme. We must not force the pace. One of the most dangerous things is to force the pace beyond the capacity of the industry. I am afraid that one of our difficulties in the past in connection with the London County Council schemes has been in trying to force the pace, and trying to get the builders' unions to join us in bringing in ex-service men and training them for the work. The unions, I do not blame them, took the view that we might train a large number of men for the work, and that the schemes would come to an end and the market would be flooded with unemployed men from the building trades. I think they were wrong from their own point of view. The result has been that the building programme was brought to an end, and there has been a large number of unemployed in the building trade, in consequence of our not being able to go through with the schemes. The more we could then have thrown into the building trade the lower would the cost have been.
I do believe that we are going to improve under this scheme, but we have got many details to make sure of, which I hope we can deal with in Committee. I do not wish to deal with them here. One of the points which interest me specially is that so much is entrusted to the decision of the local authorities. I am sorry that one or two of my hon. Friends on this side object to that. They say that it is much better for the Ministry to deal directly with the actual builders or societies who are building. I do not believe that. I think that the result of the 589 late scheme showed those of us who were trying to get houses built that Whitehall, when trying to deal directly with all these small interests all over the country, cannot know all the details required for the proper administration of public funds in those conditions, and they make regulations as if they knew, and these regulations work badly and do a great deal of mischief, and then we get an enormous over-developed Ministry in Whitehall which becomes a source of monstrous expense and is ineffective.
I am an absolute believer and supporter of local government. After working for 15 years on a county council, I believe thoroughly in the work of local authorities. I admit that local authorities are often short-sighted and are often bad in administration in many ways, but that is the penalty which we pay for democracy. We cannot go back. Therefore we have got to give democracy the power to make its own mistakes and to suffer for it. Local authorities must be allowed to make their own mistakes and suffer for them. It is absurd for Whitehall to consider that they are going to save local authorities from their mistakes, and to be able to prevent them from making many expensive mistakes which are the educational means through which local authorities will become useful agents of government. The bigger local authorities are as efficient as Whitehall, but I am speaking now of the more provincial and smaller authorities. The Government must guard against the mistake of over-centralisation in Whitehall, and dictation with regard to details of housing and plans of every kind. I hope that we shall guard against that in this Bill, and I think that we have done so to a certain extent.
There, again, we come up against the crux of a problem to which I must refer, because it is too often glossed over. That is the financial crux of the problem, as regards the reason why the expenditure for subsidy is limited to £6, and why it is restricted to such small houses. I hope that the limitation to £6 will bring us back to the right plane in which the local authorities and the central Government shall cover the cost of these big schemes, so that it shall be half national and half local. I believe from my experience that you get the best results when half the extra expense is borne by the local 590 authority and half by the Government. I cannot understand why a prejudice has grown up against this system of equal grants. We have increased the grants to 75 per cent. in some cases, and we have got a Committee inquiring into the ratio between the contributions from the two sources just now.
In one or two of these Clauses we have got back to the stage that if the authority is going to share with the Government and the Government is making a flat rate the local authority will not go beyond the same rate, and it will become a double flat rate, so that you will have a total of £12, half provided by the authorities and half by the State. But at the same time you are going back to the principle which to my mind is sound and equal. It is only right to mention the real reason of the dropping of the late scheme, which is wrongly called the Addison scheme, when it was, I believe, due to Sir Auckland Geddes. The scheme was introduced at a time when the old arrangement between the State and the municipality had fallen through. That arrangement was that the State paid half. But, the local authorities would not build; so the late Mr. Hayes Fisher, afterwards Lord Downham, who in the London County Council as well as in this House did good work in reference to housing, proposed that there should be a grant of 75 per cent. towards expenditure. Unfortunately even then they could not get the local authorities to move. That was in 1918. The bait was not big enough. That was the reason for the so-called Addison scheme, the penny rate, the State bearing all the cost above the penny rate.
It has been wrongly stated that it was due to Dr. Addison and that it was a mistaken scheme. It was the only scheme possible at the time. The need was to get these houses. The principle may have been wrong, but regardless of the principle we had to get the houses. The only way to get the authorities to build was by this system. It is unjust to the memory of Dr. Addison, who made many mistakes as everybody would have done in those difficult times, to say that it was a wrong scheme. It was the only scheme then and it produced houses at the time. Nobody could foresee how it was going to work out, or that the State was going to be fleeced on every side with 591 the result that the scheme had to be brought to an end.
Again there is a misconception. It was necessary to bring costs down. The termination of the scheme is often attributed to the right hon. Member for West Swansea (Sir A. Mond), but that is not so. In the first instance we on the London County Council first showed in a detailed manner what was the real cost of carrying out the scheme, not simply the architectural cost, but the total cost including the overhead charges. We found, taking every care to keep down the charges, that the cost of these big five-roomed houses at Roehampton was running up to, not £1,000 or £1,100, the architectural cost, but to £1,700, taking in all. And when we were able to show the cost of this scheme and bring it before Dr. Addison, within a fortnight of that time he sent notices round to the different Departments of the Ministry of Health asking them to see what they could do to bring to an end this extravagance, without at the same time interrupting the supply of houses. The first economic proposals were made by him but that was not enough, and so we had to have the scheme brought to an end. Now we are trying to get a fresh scheme. I am glad that Members on all sides, including the Minister of Health himself, recognise the intense need of housing, though it was not emphasised, perhaps naturally, by the right hon. Member for Swansea when he was Minister of Health, as he had the opposite job to do, to stop the scheme, and therefore to make light of the need of houses, as he did over and over again in this House, though when twitted with it he said that he did not make light of it. The effect of his speeches always was to make light of the need of houses. He did not do himself justice by that.
We have to make up our minds what we are to do to bring back private enterprise. Criticism of schemes is not always disinterested. There are hon. Members who criticise this or any other proposal with an eye to their respective political preferences. The one side wants to revive private enterprise. "Therefore," it says, "let us do everything we can to discourage the municipal side of building." The other side says: "We want to use this as a lever for bringing in municipalisation: therefore, let us dis- 592 courage private enterprise." I accuse both sides, and I ask them to set aside their political preferences. We must use both instruments to get building done. It will be a long time before the State will be able to provide the necessary housing. I do not believe the State will ever be able to throw on to private enterprise the work of re-housing after slum clearances. That work will have to be done by the State. The State can do a great deal that private enterprise cannot do now, but in our life-time it will be impossible to get housing done without the encouragement of private enterprise as well as of local authorities. How is it to be done? I do not see any signs of private enterprise coming back to the task of supplying working-class houses in the sense in which that term has been used in this Debate. I would remind hon. Members of the Labour party that they do not always limit the meaning of the term "working class." My much respected opponent at the polls used the term to include the black-coated class; in other words, the people for whom private builders are building houses now; but in this Debate hon. Members opposite have used the term in a more restricted sense, and apply it to those who cannot afford the houses that are being built by the private builder to-day.
You must encourage the private builders to come back. How are you to do it? Under the last scheme they would not help because we improved our standard of housing so much that it did not pay them to come in. The schemes of the London County Council at Roehampton and Becontree gave the people everything that they wanted—hot water and cold water, baths of full size, cupboards and everything that they required, and if they could not pay a reasonable rent the expense fell upon the State. Where was the inducement for the private builder to come in? There was no inducement. If you want to bring the private builder back you must set apart for him a particular sphere of work. If you are to use the limited State resources to the best advantage, what must you do? The Minister has explained the reason why he limits his houses to a certain superficial area, and I very much regret that so many of my friends on this side of the House, in commenting on this Bill, have entirely failed to meet the right hon. Gentleman's point. My hon. 593 Friends say: "We would like to have the rooms a little larger." It is very easy for them to say that, but they are not tackling the real point. If they are keen on bringing back private enterprise, the houses must be below the standard at which many people are now aiming. That is not in derogation of that standard, because that standard of house will still be supplied for people who can pay for the extra amenities included. All of us in this House would like to have extra things provided for us in the way of clothing, food and so forth. It is exactly the same in regard to these housing schemes. The standard for the State should be, not the maximum but the minimum. Logically, the scheme should be that the State should get on with a scheme of pill-box accommodation, so as to provide shelter pure and simple, leaving the people to fill in all the rest., so far as they could afford extra amenities.
§ Lieut.-Colonel FREMANTLE
Yes. The Frenchman Mirabeau, in days gone by, said it was the want of logic that saved us. I believe that that is true. If we were logical, we should supply mere pillbox housing accommodation to meet the absolute needs of the people, and leave it to them to provide extra amenities. We are not logical. But still there is the difference between State houses and private houses that you cannot ask the State to provide all the amenities that you think would be useful.
I am glad that the Minister has decided to help Public Utility Societies. That is one of the most excellent ways in which the working classes and the employers can provide their own housing. I hope that the idea will be very much developed in future. I trust, however, that the figure which my right hon. Friend has suggested as meeting the difficulty of Public Utility Societies—a figure which he will reveal in Committee, as the subsidy to be granted after 1927—will not only be something over 30 per cent., but something over 40 per cent., as against the 50 per cent. to be given to Public Utility Societies up to 1927. If my right hon. Friend limits the concession to the 40 per cent., there will still be some societies which will break down, and those who have invested their money in them 594 will not only lose it, but will set a bad example to others who are attempting a similar solution of the problem. As a medical man, who is most anxious to help to prevent the evils arising from bad housing and anxious to remedy them so far as possible, I make an appeal that all the available machinery should be utilised, and I ask my hon. Friends on both sides of the House to stimulate all the different circles in the community on which they have any influence, to co-operate in seeing that both private enterprise and public machinery are employed in the solution of the housing problem during the next few years.
§ Mr. FALCONER
I rise not for the purpose of taking part in the general Debate, which has ranged over a great variety of subjects, but to refer, both for myself and for a number of my hon. Friends who sit on these benches, to the statement made last night on behalf of the Scottish Office in regard to the Scottish problem. Yesterday Scottish Member after Scottish Member spoke and all raised the same point, namely, that the proposals as regards the subsidy were not suited to Scotland. These statements were not made merely on the authority of the Members themselves, but were made with the backing of the authorities in Scotland—men who have been working at the housing problem in Scotland with great earnestness, who have devoted their lives to it, who have had the help of the best housing experts in Scotland and who have great experience in the matter. I had hoped that when the Under-Secretary to the Scottish Board of Health spoke, he would have dealt with the points which were submitted. I joined in the enjoyment of his speech and of his entertaining dialectics, but what he said seemed to be quite away from the really serious considerations which we desired him to take into account.
Two points were made by the Scottish Members. The first was as to the amount of the subsidy and the second was that the Scottish part of the question should have been dealt with in a separate Scottish Bill, so that all the experience of the Scottish Members might be brought to bear upon these provisions. What answer did we get? I do not desire to indulge in dialectics, but I wish to look at this purely as a business pro- 595 blem. The answer we got was that the problem was the same in England and in Scotland. It is a complete delusion to suppose that building houses in England is the same thing as building them in Scotland If anyone is going to enter upon the building of houses his first consideration must be the conditions of the country in which he is going to build. The first problem is to discover the type of house suitable for the people, required by the people and in accordance with their customs and habits. One type may be quite suitable for large towns in England and quite unsuitable for large towns in Scotland. As was pointed out by hon. Members on the Government side last night, the custom of the Scottish people with regard to housing is entirely different to that which prevails in England. The first and the fundamental thing to do is to consider what is suitable for the people and what they require. There is another point of difference which is very material. The cost of building in Scotland, according to all the evidence and having regard to the type of house which is required there, is greater than the cost of building in England. That is a very important consideration in connection with the question of the subsidy which is to be given to the local authority. There is a third consideration. The rating system in Scotland is entirely different from that of England. In Scotland, as was admitted by the Parliamentary Under-Secretary to the Scottish Board of Health, the owner has to pay the equivalent of about 4s. in the £ out of the rental in respect of owner's rates, and that practice, I understand, does not obtain in England. That diminishes the return which the local authority will get and increases the amount which they will have to provide. It absorbs practically the whole of the subsidy, and, in many cases, as compared with England it means that the local authority will be without any subsidy at all. On a £25 house 4s. in the £ means £5 out of the £6 subsidy, and if we compare conditions in England with those in Scotland, then, in such cases, a subsidy of £6 is being given in England and a subsidy of £1 in Scotland.
§ Mr. McENTEE
On a point of Order. Was it not understood that yesterday was Scotland's day, and is it right that we should have all this again to-day? Some 596 of us who have sat here for two days listening to the claims of Scotland are completely shut out. We are still hearing about Scotland, while we cannot get in a word on the subject. I protest against it.
§ Mr. DEPUTY-SPEAKER (Mr. James Hope)
That is not a point of Order. I know of no such understanding as has been suggested by the hon. Member.
§ Mr. FALCONER
If hon. Members will have a very little patience, I shall dispose of all the points I propose to make in a short time. We waited patiently yesterday for the declaration from the Parliamentary Under-Secretary to the Scottish Board of Health, and we feel we cannot leave the question where it is without making our position clear. There is another matter which differentiates Scotland from England and that is the amount of the rental. It is no use telling us that in England local authorities are prepared to deal with the question on the footing of a £6 subsidy. It may be they can make it pay on that basis, but, as a matter of fact, it cannot be done in Scotland. What will be the result of all this? According to the information which we receive from people well entitled to speak on the subject, the result will be that the local authorities of Scotland will be unwilling to enter upon the scheme. A great deal has been said in the House on the subject, but very little has been said from that point of view. The local authorities are being asked to take all the risk, except as regards the £6 subsidy. That is the kind of thing local authorities have never been in the habit of doing in Scotland—undertaking an open risk of that kind. Who can tell what the total may be? There are unsettled conditions as regards the cost of material and labour, and uncertainty as regards the rent they will receive. Who that has ever had the duty of deciding for a local authority or of advising a local authority will say that he would be justified in undertaking an open risk like that, in view of the conditions that prevail in Scotland as regards housing?
I put that very seriously. A man who has done a great deal for housing, representing a great community, said that he would not undertake the responsibility of advising these people to build. He is 597 probably one of the men who has been most earnest in housing. I ask the right hon. and learned Attorney-General to weigh well these considerations. They are not light and frivolous. They are real business difficulties, which Scottish people see, and we may miss the opportunity of getting housing done for Scotland, because these people will feel they are not justified in embarking on this enterprise on the risky terms that are proposed. The only other point I want to put is in regard to the great sense of dissatisfaction, expressed in all quarters from Scotland, with this method of dealing with Scottish business. The conditions are different. We have hitherto had on this housing question separate Scottish Bills, and now we find ourselves with only Clause 18 of the Bill, which professes to deal with this very grave question. There are many reasons why one objects to that type of Clause. One is that it is impossible for the Scottish people to concentrate their opinion upon it.
Another reason is very pertinent. I defy any man to read Clause 18 so as to understand what the exact effect is in regard to Scotland. I ask the Attorney-General if he ever saw such a jumble of bad draftsmanship as that which is found in that Clause? I ask whether he himself can understand the Clause unless he is guided by some of his draftsmen, who prepared the Bill. No hon. Member, unless he have an expert draftsman at his disposal, can possibly make out what are the conditions in regard to Scotland. I have had some little experience in regard to Bills, but I have never seen anything like it. In the Scottish Clause, some sections of the English Bill are left out, and others are amended. You have Amendments of other Measures incorporated by reference, and these are again amended. It is not reasonable. If the intention of the Scottish Office were to bamboozle Members of Parliament, and make it impossible for them to study this question, to criticise and amend it, they could not have more effectively accomplished their purpose. It is no answer to say, in regard to that, that it is done either in the interests of time, or, as the hon. and gallant Gentleman the Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health suggested, because of some difficulty about the Financial Resolution. There has been no obstruction of this Measure at all. We are all in 598 earnest about this, and anxious to get homes for the people. It would be just as easy to have a Financial Resolution dealing with a Scottish Bill, on other lines, if you like, in regard to the subsidy, as to include it in the English Bill.
I do not know whether the Government are apprehensive as to what the opinion of the Scottish Members might be on this Measure if expressed in the Scottish Grand Committee. By the custom of this House, Scottish Members are entitled, as a matter of right, to have Scottish Measures sent to the Scottish Grand Committee. I am afraid that the real reason for such a glaring departure from public procedure which animates the Government is to prevent the Scottish Bill going to the Scottish Grand Committee. The Government are far too timid. Notwithstanding the fact that they are not in the majority among the Scottish Members, I think they might trust the Scottish Members to have before them a sense of their duty to their country and to their constituents upon this question, which would have led every man among us to support the Government where they were right and to help them to make a really good Scottish Bill. Why do not they give us the chance! I wish to make this protest, in the most emphatic way. It is becoming a practice. We had it in the Local Authorities (Emergency Provisions) (Scotland) Bill. The same thing—a serious departure from the Scottish law and practice—was introduced by a Clause of this kind, when there ought certainly to have been a Scottish Bill. I trust this is the last we shall hear of it.
I am bound to say I do not think—upon the opinion given to me—that the Bill is going to do anything like what it ought to do for Scotland. If it were a Scottish Bill alone, my inclination would be to vote against it on the Second Reading, because I believe that would be the quickest way of getting a real Bill, in which we should proceed on lines that would give us the houses. I am only deterred from doing that by the fact that it contains provisions for England. While I am anxious to make the most emphatic protest I can, in regard to dragging in Scotland in this way—I resent it, and I think we are entitled to resent it—I am not prepared to express the opinion that the Bill should not get a Second 599 Reading, if it contains provisions—as it does—which seem to satisfy the local authorities of England, and the general body of hon. Members.
§ Mr. FALCONER
If I am mistaken, I will withdraw. I assumed, from what has been said, that the Minister of Health was proceeding after some consultation with the English authorities. If he were doing so, or if there was only a chance of it, I should not vote against the Second Reading, in the hope that some good might come out of the Bill for England, and, possibly, for Scotland, although that becomes more, and more difficult as we proceed. I cannot support the Bill, and I am placed in this position by this proceeding of introducing Scottish provisions into an English Bill. It deprives the Scottish Members of having an independent Bill dealing with Scotland. It practically shuts them out from their right to take their full part in the legislation of their country. I do not feel justified, in view of the opinion which has been expressed in regard to England, in voting against the Bill. Abstaining from voting is a position I do not like, and never have liked; but if the Scottish Office will tie Scotland to the tail of England in this way—
§ Mr. FALCONER
It will be very welcome to me. If we are to be tied up with England in this way, we must do the best we can. I hope it will be quite understood, so far as all the Scottish Members, whom I know, are concerned, that they resent this method of dealing with Scottish business as hotly as they can resent anything.
§ Mr. WEBB
The House will have felt that the extremely engaging way in which the Minister of Health introduced this Bill, and explained its Clauses, rather concealed its provisions, which we like the less the more we hear about them. I want to tender my humble meed of appreciation of the very charming honesty with which the right hon. Gentleman intro- 600 duced the Bill. I like to remember that he has an experience and a knowledge of this question which very few people in this House can claim. I want to add that I feel he has once more shown a great deal of public spirit in engaging in an enterprise for which I am afraid the necessary means and the necessary conditions have been withheld from him. I can appreciate all the more the energy which he has shown in drawing up this Bill. I suggest that this Bill is not only inadequate—and the right hon. Gentleman himself said that no Measure introduced at this moment could be adequate—but, as we think, it proceeds on the wrong lines, because it does not rightly conceive the problem which is before us. The right hon. Member for Northampton (Mr. McCurdy) said this was a problem of appalling dimensions, and I think those words were not too strong, but the Government are applying to this problem of appalling dimensions an apparatus which will not succeed in dealing with the problem even in 100 years.
The Minister of Health said this was not an engine, but merely a starting apparatus to set the engine in motion. I shall try and show that it will not start any adequate engine for the purpose. However, let us acknowledge one good thing, namely, that the right hon. Gentleman does call in aid the local authorities. He said, "We want their hearty co-operation; we want to rely upon them for carrying out these purposes." I think that is not only necessary, but that it is absolutely the right way of going to work. I know the right hon. Gentleman has been criticised from his own side for even venturing to talk about the local authorities, but let me do him the justice to say that he talked about them very little in his speech. It would be hardly possible to find from his speech that he was counting on the local authorities at all, except as subsidising and handing out money to other people. That is not exactly the function with which the local authorities have been charged in this matter of housing under the various Acts which they have carried out in the past, As the bodies responsible for the public health, they have been charged with providing houses themselves, and I need not remind the House that the right. hon. Gentleman has himself been connected with a local authority which has provided 601 houses with considerable success. I mean the City of Birmingham. Are we to understand that that work is no longer to be encouraged by the Government in their desire to return to the reign of the private builder? Are the local authorities merely to be channels through which money is to be handed out to the speculative builder?
The right hon. Gentleman's speech, and a great many of the Clauses in the Bill, seem to indicate that that is so, and it has even been suggested on his own side of the House that even that is too much for the local authorities to do. We have had opened out to us the appalling prospect of having to deal with all the 100,000 separate builders, and the hundreds of separate public utility societies, direct from Whitehall, and in order to protect himself from that terrible prospect and that reign of private enterprise, the right hon. Gentleman interposes the local authorities as a screen and says that they are to deal with the builders and the utility societies in order that Whitehall may not have to face that problem. There is no doubt the right hon. Gentleman is right in that. We do not wish to see him overwhelmed by grappling with these hundred thousand builders, but the local authorities will have to grapple with them. It seems to me that a Measure such as this, which subordinates the local authorities' duty of providing houses for the people, where they are not otherwise provided, to the duty of merely, subsidising the private builder, is not a worthy successor of all the Housing Acts which we have had, and is not a Measure which is likely to be taken up with energy by the local authorities themselves.
I would ask the right hon. Gentleman whether he has considered—I do not feel sure that he can have considered—how many of the 1,100 separate local authorities who will be authorised under this Bill are likely to take the energetic action which he so much wishes that they should take. As a matter of fact, probably nearly every one of those 1,100 districts are in need of more houses of the type which is to be inhabited by a wage-earning family. I do not know how many more should be added for Scotland, but probably every local authority in Scotland is in need of more houses. Is it to be believed that any large proportion, numerically, of those 1,100 authorities in England are likely 602 to engage in this scramble of handing out subsidies to private builders, which will involve a heavy charge upon their own rates, with all the risk attendant on dealing in this way with builders? Of course, the right hon. Gentleman does include in his Bill power to himself to allow local authorities themselves to provide the houses if he is satisfied that no sufficient opportunity is given for the private builder to do it.
I do not know how that is going to be administered, but I will venture on a prediction, that in a city in which there are as many private builders as there are anywhere, in a city in which their enterprise is as great as anywhere, namely, the City of Manchester—I predict that the city council of Manchester will want to handle these houses themselves, and that the right hon. Gentleman will not refuse to the city council of Manchester the opportunity of providing the houses itself, instead of subsidising the private builders to provide them. But if he does that for Manchester, will he do it for the other places? And if he does it for the other places, I venture to say that his speech will rather seem to some of his followers to have been a little bit misleading, because it has been implied that it was to be done by the private builders. In Manchester it will not be done by the private builders, and I gather that it will not be done by the private builders either in Birmingham, or in Leeds, or in Nottingham, or in any of the great municipalities of this country. I will not answer for Glasgow, but I shall be surprised if the city council of Glasgow hands out the bawbees to the private builders by way of subsidy. These big cities will be able to make use of the Measure in the way I should wish it to be made use of, namely, by the collective provision of houses, but, on the other hand, the great mass of the smaller places, I am afraid, will not have the opportunity of doing that, and as I am sincerely anxious for them to have more houses, I am afraid that in the majority of these places this Measure will prove to be ineffective.
One of the things which seems practically to condemn this Measure to ineffectiveness is this wretched standard of the house to which the subsidy is to be confined. I do not want to say a word about the smallness of the houses; that 603 has been sufficiently dealt with. But I do venture to say, that if you are going to get the hearty co-operation of the local authorities, if you are going to rely on those local authorities for carrying out the purpose of the Act, is it wise to go to them and say, "You must, you shall have houses of this rigidly fixed character all over Great Britain, or nothing at all"? May I put my small experience in the matter? As far as I have found, almost every town in England, and certainly some of the Scottish have their own style of house. They may seem to differ very little, but I have been informed in town after town, that if a builder or a local authority puts up a house a little different from the kind to which the people have been accustomed, there is a prejudice against that house which would affect it to the extent of about 2s. a week. That may be exaggeration, but, at any rate, there is a prejudice which is disadvantageous if you build such a house. At Leicester they have a certain style of house. In Glasgow there is an almost entirely different style of house. It is a problem whether the houses could be brought within the same superficial area at the same rate. I suppose you must go on in Glasgow with these tall houses in separate tenements. [An HON. MEMBER: "No!"] I hope Glasgow may change its mind, but Glasgow, I am sure, has a peculiarity of its own which will very much prevent your attempting to force upon it the house which Leicester would prefer.
I think you may assume that each one of these places has its own particular house. That is what the private speculative builder studies, and it is partly because of his half-unconscious skill in hitting off the taste of a particular town that he has been able to make a living. If you are going to substitute for that variety of size and accommodation one uniform house, I suggest it is not good business. The local authority is going to lose, one way or the other, to the extent that it will not get the same rent which it would get if the house were adapted to the particular prejudice of the locality. I do not know whether we are to impose the standard house on Scotland, or whether we are to impose any other standard house on any other place, but what is the use of trying to impose a standard house on any place? I quite 604 understand that the right hon. Gentleman must draw a line somewhere, and make a class to which alone he must confine the subsidy, but I do ask whether there is not some other way by which he can define that class, so as to avoid imposing a rigid standard. For instance, it has been suggested whether he could consider admitting, as qualifying for this subsidy, any house on which not more than £500 or some other sum has been spent. In that case, you could leave Scotland with the house it wants, and Leicester with the house it wants, and the Minister could satisfy himself that the house was somewhere about the price, and it would only be a question whether the house did bona fide come within the class to which you could reasonably provide a subsidy. I do suggest that he might see whether some other classification could not be adopted which would give him all he need have, namely, the limiting of the character of the house to which a subsidy is given, without involving what to me seems the absurdity of a rigid pattern of house for town and country alike.
I cannot help thinking that not only the way this is put, but also the rigid standard, is going to discourage the local authorities. This Bill discourages their providing houses. The speech of the right hon. Gentleman discourages their providing houses. This is not a question, as some hon. Members seem to think, of whether a local authority can possibly be skilled in building. I am not arguing the difference, between direct labour and putting houses out to contract. Let us assume the local authority merely orders a house, puts it out to contract by competitive tender, and gets it carried out by a builder exactly as a private person may do. In that case, there is no necessity for the local authority to know anything about building or have anything to do with labour. The private builder is not ousted. He gets just as much work to do, and there is no question of superseding private enterprise. The only thing is that ownership remains with the local authority, instead of the person to whom the private builder sells the house which is built. I suggest that it is a ruinous practice in this 20th century to give your public subsidy to cover England and Scotland with houses—I do not say built by the private builder—they will be built by the private builder anyhow—but built by a man who intends to sell them, 605 and does not intend to own them for an hour longer than is necessary. I should think anyone who has any experience of house property knows that a house which has been built for sale is never as profitable in subsequent years to the occupier or owner as a house which has been built to keep. I am carefully avoiding the distinction, of whether it is done for profit for yourself. The difference is whether it is built to be occupied, or merely built in order to sell.
One hon. Member referred to the great service rendered by the jerry builder. I do not wish to use any term of opprobrium, and I will say nothing about it being jerry built, but if a man builds a house with a deliberate purpose of selling it, he cannot be interested in the durability of that house, in the amount of repairs that will be required 20 years hence. I do not say he will put in bad plumbing; he will put in plumbing which will pass the clerk of works or the sanitary authority, but that plumbing will be thinner than if it had been put in in order to keep and if the builder was going to stand the racket of repairs 20 years hence. The painting may look all right, but there is all the difference in durability between one paint and an-other paint. The paint will inevitably be less durable than if the house is built to keep. Then take the walls, the height of the rooms, the window space, and the sanitary accommodation — all these matters are very important from the health point of view. You will find that the man who builds a house in order to sell it will produce an article which will look all right, but which everybody knows will not have the durability which would be the case if it had been built in order to be kept.
§ Mr. H. H. SPENCER
Will the hon. Gentleman allow me to put this to him: the problem that is troubling some of us very much is that the local authorities will pass work for themselves that they will not pass for others.
§ Mr. WEBB
The hon. Gentleman may have that sort of experience with local authorities in one part of the country, but my experience is not to that effect. So far as I know—and, perhaps my experience of local government is as considerable as any Member of the House—local authorities that are going to own property and maintain it will not be more 606 lenient in passing inefficient work than if they were passing it for a private builder. My experience indicates that where a local authority is going to keep and maintain property it is maintained at a higher standard than that of the private builder. That is obvious, for the local authorities have to pass through the criticism of half a dozen different classes of people, and the sanitary inspector at the finish, and you will find as a matter of fact that what the Government are proposing to do in this Clause, in handing these matters over to builders who build to sell, will lower the standard of building and of good healthy houses for a whole generation.
We come next to the bye-laws. The right hon. Gentleman takes power to help the local authorities by giving them beautiful model bye-laws which they can adopt if they think fit. But in this matter I suspect that they will not be up to the standard of the London County Council bye-laws. In one part of his speech the right hon. Gentleman alluded to a point—I do not know whether Members realise the force of it—that in this Bill there is a Clause inserted giving him on his own will and authority power summarily to scrap all the bye-laws of the town or county and substitute for them new bye-laws or bye-laws such as he may think fit. It is of interest to notice that this provision does not apply to the London County Council. The right hon. Gentleman does not propose to take power to scrap the bye-laws of the London County Council, but he does take power to scrap summarily the bye-laws of the Manchester City Council, the Leeds City Council, and so on, if he thinks that these bye-laws "unreasonably impede" the erection of new buildings under the Act. I suggest that the local authorities will desire to give some little consideration to this Clause, whatever the Minister may say in defence of it. If they object to any lowering of the standard of houses they are entitled, I suggest, if they like, to make bye-laws which will preserve the standard of their own locality. Perhaps the right hon. Gentleman will in this connection admit that the Clause, as it appears, gives him autocratic powers when introducing this rigid standard of houses which some of us say will lower the standard for a generation. We do now know whether he is going to allow, these houses to be 12 or 20 to the acre. 607 Before he makes up his mind on this point, if he has not already done so, perhaps he will be good enough to give consideration to the suggestion that there is no such easy practical conclusion as that the difference in cost as between 20 and 12 houses to the acre will necessarily mean the difference as between 20 and 12. As a matter of fact it can be argued that putting up houses 12 to the acre only you may save in the cost, because you save on the roads, on the pavements, and all that sort of thing; and in addition you can give the people a garden, and what is more you can develop your town planning scheme on a somewhat rather better system than in the case of the hideous rows of colliery houses that we see in some parts of the country. I suggest that a maximum of 12 houses to the acre, having regard to the conditions in different parts of the country, ought not to be abandoned without further consideration.
I want to make another suggestion—a novel one. The right hon. Gentleman very properly laid stress upon the necessity of rehousing first the very poorest, the most necessitous, and the most hard driven people. I would remind him that there is one class which suffers as much, perhaps more, from the shortage of housing accommodation than perhaps any other, and for which this Bill does nothing at all. I mean single women living away from their relations in a big city—and also to some extent the single men. In London we have an enormous number of these, probably 100,000. As a rule they earn only small incomes and they have to take what lodgings are offered. The right hon. Gentleman knows that they have no Rent Restriction Act to protect them, and the rents may be piled up and the circumstances in which they may be placed are really heart-rending. I will add another class, and that is the University students living in lodgings. In London I think we have 10,000 of these. Some are very poor. Certainly of my own knowledge, some of them are living under dreadful conditions. Little has been done up to now for them. Would it not be possible to extend these subsidies in certain cases, not exactly perhaps to £6 per house, but to give some help to enable blocks and 608 residential hostels to be put up to suit these classes? These cases really number some hundreds of thouands.
The Bill is wrong in the first place, and we are opposed to it, because of the shortness of its term. Hon. Members have criticised previous Bills to some extent because of the fact that the subsidy was limited to a short term. That is the mistake which we are making again. You cannot do very much in this problem within 18 months or two years in which this Bill is likely to become operative. For reasons already given, you can only employ the labour available, and at the end of two years, supposing the Bill allows all labour available to be taken advantage of and everything possible is done, how much will have been accomplished? You will have made some progress, but my point is this: How much nearer will you be to the time when you will be able to remove the Rent Restriction Acts The object surely is, if hon. Members opposite want to restore private enterprise, to remove restrictions at the earliest possible moment, and you cannot hope to be able in two years to make up the shortage in housing to enable you to remove the restriction. It will not be made easier by the fact that at the end of that period you will be coming nearer to the General Election. If you cannot hope to be able to remove the rent restrictions at the end of the period during which this Bill operates, what is the advantage of putting in the limitation of time?
I want in the few minutes left to me to suggest to the House that now is the opportunity for the policy of the Labour party to be put forward in this matter. I would like, if I may, to speak of the programme of the Labour party with regard to housing. [Hon. MEMBERS: "Speak up!"] We regard the condition in regard to housing as the greatest evil of the present time. It is a greater evil than drink. It is a greater evil, in my opinion, even than low wages, because housing and everything that depends on it really affects not only the material, but the moral welfare not merely of men, but of all the members of the families. We recognise the magnitude of the evil, and we should not attempt, we should not be able, we should not think it possible, to deal with it by a programme extending only over two years. We suggest that 609 this question can only be dealt with by a persistent effort, not by chopping and changing, but by carrying out a consistent programme to run over 15 or 20 years, because you have to increase your supply of skilled labour, and you cannot, whatever you do, obtain in the building industry an adequate supply of labour until you can guarantee to the men engaged in it some sort of continuity of employment. [HON. MEMBERS: "Speak up!"] The building industry has suffered so severely in the past from the see-saw of unemployment that you will not be able to get the labour that is required to build the houses that are needed without such a guarantee. You have never yet had such a campaign in regard to housing. The problem has simply been nibbled at, and the present scheme of the Government will not dispose of the problem. It is not even planned for that end. If this problem is to be solved, we shall have to attack it on several lines.
It is a common error in this House to suppose that when we of the Labour party talk of nationalisation we want the Central Government to do everything. That is not the case. We rely very much more on the local authorities, but we do want the co-operation of the Central Government in order to give a stimulus to the local authority, and we want it for another reason. We want to equalise the burden to some extent among local authorities. You have to give the local authorities a free hand. [HON. MEMBERS: "Speak up!"] If you prevent any local authority forming a proper standard of housing it will not be easy for the standard of housing in that district to be kept up, and you must leave the local authorities freedom to do better in any way they can over and above the minimum set by the Central Government. We on these benches propose that we should have a plan large enough to cover the whole problem on a scale extending over a period of 15 to 20 years. We should provide for a sufficient recruitment of labour in the building trades, giving the necessary guarantees for the continuous employment of that labour, and we should provide a grant-in-aid adequate to induce the local authorities to take action in this matter. Only in that way do we think you can adequately cope with and solve the housing problems. [HON. MEMBERS: "Speak up!"]
§ Mr. WEBB
If the House does not desire to hear me and signifies that it does not desire to hear me, I shall sit down. [HON. MEMBERS: "Go on!"] I say that only by a campaign on lines as large as that which I have mentioned can this problem be solved. Only by a campaign framed on lines as large as that, and with a full appreciation of the magnitude of the problem, can we adequately deal with housing. I will not say that anything less than that is worth nothing, because that would be going too far. I do not say that anything else would be waste, because that would be going too far; but I do say you are not getting full value for the money you are spending unless you deal with the problem as a whole. It means you are putting your efforts to cope with the problem at the greatest possible disadvantage, and that you are always being weighed down by the part of the problem which you are leaving unsolved. Consequently, we on this side of the House are going to vote for our Amendment, which has been moved; but if that Amendment be defeated, as of course it will be, we do not intend to take up any obstructive attitude, and I hope the Minister of Health, who has asked the House to co-operate with him in trying to make the Bill better, will allow us to help him in Committee. Although we disagree with his proposals, and although we think he is not adequately grappling with the problem, yet we will try in Committee to make the Bill a little better.
§ Several hon. Members rose—
§ The ATTORNEY - GENERAL (Mr. Douglas Hogg)
I think all hon. Members of the House who have had the privilege, as I have had during the last two evenings, of listening to nearly the whole of the Debate and the speeches 611 delivered on both sides will agree with me when I say that whatever else this Bill may have done it has undoubtedly produced a very instructive and interesting discussion. I hope that hon. Members opposite will forgive me if I add that after listening carefully and attentively to the arguments which they have put forward, I must confess to a feeling of some considerable disappointment at the attitude which they have seen fit to adopt. Yesterday and to-day we have had a series of speeches from members of the Labour party delivered in accents of obvious sincerity and often of real eloquence, in which they portrayed to a House, which I am sure was greatly moved by the portrayal, the conditions under which a great part of the population of this country are living at the present time. I agree that they are right when they say that no one could appreciate so fully what those conditions mean as those, like some hon. Members opposite, who have themselves had to endure them.
§ The ATTORNEY-GENERAL
The hon. Member will at least believe me when I say that we are trying to remedy those conditions. When one listened to that portrayal, when one realised the picture they drew of the conditions under which their own constituents were living, I at least hoped to hear the argument pressed somewhat on the lines of saying, not indeed that they believed this was a good Bill, not on the lines of saying that they thought that it solved the problem with which he had to deal, because I expected them to tell us that their panacea of a new social order was the only cure. We expected them to say that their methods would, in their opinion, be far better than ours. I had hoped, however, that they might have seen their way to say that, although they thought our method worse than theirs, and our measures inadequate to deal with the situation, yet housing was too big a matter to be made a question of party controversy, and that they would do their best to accept and facilitate the passage of this Bill, not as a solution, but as at least a mitigation, of the trouble which they feel so keenly. 612 It was a real disappointment when I heard some of the hon. Members opposite—I would refer especially to the hon. Member who moved the rejection of the Bill—telling the House that it was apparent from the speech of my right hon. Friend that he had no sympathy at all with the people for whom he was endeavouring to provide.
My right hon. Friend needs no defence from me. His record on this question, if hon. Members will take the trouble to study it, compares not unfavourably in its achievements with that of anybody who has taken an interest in housing in Great Britain; and I am speaking within the recollection of the House when I ask the House whether those who listened to him with an unprejudiced mind were not satisfied that the Measure which he was bringing forward was brought forward to deal with a problem to which he had devoted months and years of anxious thought, and which he was most earnestly desirous of solving. I venture to doubt, however, whether even some hon. Members opposite really believe that my right hon. Friend has no sympathy in this matter. We were sorry to hear that expression of opinion emphasised by the hon. Member for Dumbarton Burghs (Mr. Kirkwood), who told us, as the House will remember, that they want no sympathy in this matter, that brotherly love was a, mockery and a sham, that cant and hypocrisy were at the bottom of the whole of our attitude towards housing. That sort of speech may, of course, be useful propaganda for those who wish to preach, as the hon. Member for Shettlestone (Mr. Wheatley) told us he did, the class war; but I doubt whether that attitude is the most helpful attitude for people who really want to get the houses which the people so urgently need.
There is, of course, a section of the community—and hon. Members will believe me when I say that I do not suggest that it is largely represented on their benches—there is, of course, a section of the community, at any rate outside this House, who say and believe that revolution is the only cure for social evils, who say that they know that overcrowding and miserable conditions are the best breeding ground for revolutionaries; and who, therefore, to be logical—though the hon. and gallant Member for St. Albans (Lieut.-Colonel Fremantle) told us that very few people, 613 fortunately, are logical—who, to be logical, would say, "Let us prevent any improvement in housing conditions, because by so doing we are taking the best method to ensure that that revolution will come which we believe is going to cure all our ills." I do not believe that is the real attitude of any large section of hon. Members opposite. I would suggest to hon. Members who do not hold these views whether it is not true that a speech on the lines of some of those we listened to yesterday did not rather tend to encourage that position. The hon. Member for Shettlestone in his opening remarks, after criticising what he called the ignorance of my right hon. Friend of the problem and its causes, went on to make his own statement, which in my submission is really the root error which underlies a great deal of the criticism to which our Bill has been subjected because he said this:May I say at the outset that the housing problem is not one of house building. It is really a problem of finance.It is because I profoundly disagree with that proposition that I suggest that our Bill ought to commend itself to the House. If it were true that this was merely a question of finance, it would not be nearly so difficult a problem to solve. If it were only a question of finding money and the houses would be there, it would be a comparatively easy job for any Minister to deal with the problem that is before us. The difficulty is, that it is not a problem of finance. It is a problem of houses. The difficulty is not in finding the money to build the houses. It is to find the men to build the houses. The hon. Member a little later on, forgetting perhaps the words with which he began, himself put his finger upon that weak spot, when he said:Let me say quite frankly that when you set about building these houses you will find that you have not a sufficient quantity of skilled labour in this country.
§ The ATTORNEY-GENERAL
I do not want to get into controversy as to who is responsible. It is not because I am afraid of the problem, but because I do not think it is helpful to discuss it at this moment. The problem we have to deal with is not why there is not enough 614 skilled labour, but how we are to get houses now when labour is scarce? [Interruption.]
§ Mr. SPEAKER
Private Members have had a great opportunity of putting their case. It is the only condition on which Debate can be carried on.
§ Mr. J. JONES
On a point of Order. I was here all day yesterday, and did not get a chance of speaking.
§ Mr. SPEAKER
If the hon. Member interrupts again, I shall be obliged to ask him to leave the House.
§ The ATTORNEY-GENERAL
If we appreciate what the hon. Member for Shettleston quite correctly stated, that this is a problem, not of finance, but of the finding of skilled labour, the House will appreciate, what I think hon. Members on both sides have perhaps not fully accepted, that is the provision which my right hon. Friend has had to make with regard to limiting the sort of house that is to be built. I said that I was not going to discuss the absence of skilled labour, but there is one observation which the hon. Member for Shettleston made which I should like to take up. He said that the difficulty was this, that there is no security in the future for regular employment, and that parents will not put their sons into this particular trade. I agree with the hon. Member that security is of the first importance. You will not get people to put their energy, their brains and their skill into learning a trade, unless they have some reasonable assurance that they are going to get work when they have learned it. My belief is that, of all trades under existing conditions, the housing business is one that offers some of the best opportunities. I should have hoped that that is realised, because the facts which have been brought out very fully in the House during the last few days show that there is, and must be for a long time to come, a shortage of houses. I hope I am not asking too much 615 if I suggest to hon. Members that if they make that point clear to those who consult them—as I am sure they often do—as to what is a suitable career for their sons, they will make a real contribution towards the solution of this problem.
I would remind hon. Members opposite that the point upon which the hon. Member put his finger when he was seeking to find labour for houses is the same point which we are trying to deal with when we are seeking to attract capital into houses. Just as you will not get an adequate supply of labour to learn the housing business unless you give to those who are entering upon it a reasonable prospect of work when they have learned it, so you will never get the private builder to embark upon this enterprise unless you give him some reasonable security that when he has embarked upon the enterprise the fruits of his labour and the fruits of his expenditure will not be confiscated property. Therefore, it is quite true that security is one of the root problems which we have to face, and it is with a real desire to try to encourage the restoration of that confidence and that sense of security that a great deal of this Bill has been framed. The hon. Member went on to discuss the question of land, and he pointed out that the problem of land was a very small element in the case. It may interest him if I tell him, because he asked the question, that the difficulty of obtaining land is not the real difficulty to-day in connection with housing. He put the average cost of land at £400 an acre. Under the Addison schemes, the actual average cost was less than £200 an acre. There are to-day 20,000 acres which have been acquired by local authorities, and one of the methods which we hoped they will largely use in forwarding these housing schemes will be to put in that land at a cheap rate, so as to have the land available at once, partially developed as it is, for the provision of houses in the very near future. [An HON. MEMBER: "By the building speculator?"] I am sorry if I have not made myself clear. The plan we are suggesting is a subsidy which the State gives to the local authority, and the local authority where it can finds a private builder hands it on, with assistance from itself. The method which we suggest as a method of largely 616 accelerating the building of houses will be for the local authority to pass on the land at a cheap rate to the builder and by that means give assistance. [HON. MEMBERS: "Speculators!"]
The next criticism levelled against the Bill was outlined by my right hon. Friend the Member for Spen Valley (Sir J. Simon) and the hon. Member for the Westhoughton Division of Lancashire (Mr. Rhys Davies) who seconded the rejection of the Bill. My right hon. Friend says that the first question to be asked was—will this scheme get the houses? That is, of course, the crucial test of any housing scheme, and the hon. Member who seconded the rejection told us that, in his view, none of the progressive local authorities would have anything to do with the scheme, and that they would not attempt to work it. I do not know whether Lancashire will be grateful to the hon. Member, but I may tell him that Manchester, which is no mean city of the County Palatine, not only gave its name to the scheme which we have embodied in this Bill, but the Manchester authorities have already assured us of their willingness to co-operate with us in helping to make it a success.
§ Mr. CLYNES
Does the right hon. Gentleman intend that statement to apply to all the Bill or only to its financial aspects?
§ The ATTORNEY-GENERAL
I intend the statement to apply to the outline of the scheme with which we provide the House. The point made against the Bill is that the local authorities will refuse to work it. The statement I make is that local authorities, including Manchester, have assured us of their intention to work the Bill and work it on the lines of the scheme and do their best to make a success of it.
§ Sir J. SIMON
The question which I asked was not about the great municipalities, but what was the assurance that the rural authorities, the authorities with the smaller rateable value, would be able to work it?
§ The ATTORNEY - GENERAL
That was another point that was put to me, and I am coming to it. The next point, which I took under a different heading, because it was developed differently by other speakers, was the question of what 617 may be called the flat rate. The suggestion made was that this scheme might provide sufficient money for the larger urban areas, but that it was insufficient in the case of the rural areas. That obviously is a matter which would have to be worked out, and it has been looked into before the figures were arrived at. To have a sliding scale in the sense of having a different rate fixed according to the varying conditions of each municipality would, as the House will appreciate, have involved that the Ministry would have had to make its own bargain with each local authority, and as we have been told that there are 1,100 of them that does not seem a quick way of getting houses. Of course it was necessary to consider the financial aspects with regard to rural areas. We have had worked out for us very carefully what the cost will be, and we have the figures and they show that it would be possible with this scheme for the local authority in a rural area to erect a house and find just a little less by way of subsidy than the State has to find in order to make the scheme a success, and the rent which is taken in order to arrive at that calculation is an average rent of 5s. 6d. a week. With regard to the larger urban areas, the House may remember that the original suggestion of the Minister was that if the State found £4 a year for 20 years, that would be finding half the total. The municipalities said that they did not regard that as enough, and my right hon. Friend, feeling, as I think the House will agree that he ought to feel, that the urgent matter was to enlist the sympathy and co-operation of the local authorities, deliberately accepted the higher figure, so that we might be sure that we were taking a figure which the local authorities themselves recognised as fair. I come now to the next criticism, which is that this Bill lowers the standard of housing. If that charge were true it would be a most serious charge. But who that has listened to the description of the present-day conditions of housing in this country will get up and say that the house which is provided under the Bill with this subsidy is not infinitely superior to the house in which the average person of those sections of the community who most need houses is living in at the present time?
§ The ATTORNEY-GENERAL
I did not say, and I do not think, that anything is good enough for the working classes. What I do say is that at this moment the urgent need is to get as many houses provided as possible. We have only limited resources, especially in the way of skilled labour, and what we have to do is to use those resources to the best of our ability. Of course, we have to provide a house which is fit for people to live in.
§ Mr. SPEAKER
These vulgar interruptions do not tend to the orderliness of debate. I hope the Minister will be allowed to proceed.
§ The ATTORNEY-GENERAL
I want to make my point clear, as certain Members of the House wish to understand it. If we were building what are called rabbit hutches or hovels, or houses inferior to those in which the poorer sections of the community are now living, it would be a ground for objecting to this Bill. But, in fact, the house which we are building is infinitely better than the conditions under which those who will go into them are living at this moment. So far from these houses being unfit to live in, more than 40 per cent. of those built under the Addison scheme—the hon. Member for Dumbarton (Mr. Kirkwood) gave a testimonial to Dr. Addison for his scheme—do comply with the conditions of this scheme. Is it suggested that all these houses are unfit to live in? I do not think hon. Members opposite would seriously make that contention. It is said also that these houses are going to be crowded together; that the density of the houses to the acre is going to be too great, and the hon. Member for Shettleston actually suggested—I think I know where he got that suggestion from—that 20 houses to the acre was what our scheme proposed. I should like to assure the House that it is an entire mistake. Of course we are giving a certain discretion to the local 619 authorities; it is our deliberate intention so to do, and I gather that the hon. Member for Seaham (Mr. Webb) would agree with us in so doing.
§ The ATTORNEY-GENERAL
We are giving a certain discretion to the local authorities, and what the Ministry suggests to the local authorities is that about the rate of density at which to aim under this scheme, is 12 to the acre. The suggestion which the hon. Member for Shettlestone got—I think I know from where—is based on the suggestion which the Ministry made that in no circumstances should any one single acre have more than 20 houses. The House will appreciate at once the difference between saying that, and saying that 20 houses to the acre is the proper density. I think, therefore, the House may be re-assured on that point. Now I come to a point which has caused a great deal of discussion, and that is the question of the size of house to be erected. My right hon. Friend the Minister of Health has stated the problem very fully and, I think, very clearly, and I do not want to repeat too much of what he said. Shortly, the problem is this: We have to get as many houses as we can with the labour available, as quickly as possible. It is obvious if you build very large houses, you will take more labour and more time than if you build smaller houses, and therefore it is also obvious that in order to get the best result it is essential for this emergency Measure—because that is what it is—that we should get the largest number of houses in the time that the labour can give us. It is all very well for the hon. Member for Seaham to say that he would have a comprehensive scheme which would provide for the education of skilled labour and for the production of houses on a large scale over a large number of years. These people for whom we are providing houses have been waiting long enough, and we are anxious, and I think the House will think we are right in being anxious, to give them in the shortest possible time, the largest number of houses. That is the real governing consideration.
It will be remembered that no Member on either side of the House has ventured to deny that houses of the type suggested 620 by the Bill are houses for which there is a very large demand. Nobody can doubt that if you provide large houses, at any rate you run the risk, that instead of giving more accommodation, you merely encourage persons who get the houses to take in lodgers, and probably you have more congestion.
§ The ATTORNEY-GENERAL
My right hon. Friend, in order that the very real and natural anxiety of the House should be satisfied on this point, has arranged to have plans put up in the smoking room, which will show the houses which were actually being erected before this Bill was drafted, which are being erected, and which have been erected, and which comply with the provisions of this Section. Hon. Members, therefore, will be able to judge for themselves whether or not these are houses which anybody might quite fairly say are decent and respectable. [HON. MEMBERS: "Ten by six!"]
§ Mr. HARDIE
Would the right hon. Gentleman say, taking the minimum area allowed, that a house built in one flat as a bungalow would cost more than a house built in two stories?
§ The ATTORNEY-GENERAL
We are giving to the local authority the power to provide either one-storied houses or two-storied houses, or flats. It is not a question of the cost of the house. It is a question of the subsidy, which we are 621 discussing at the moment. The subsidy of the State is to be the same, and the local authority is going to decide which to build. We are putting plans in the smoking room in order that they may be seen. There is this point, which has been urged by the hon. Members for North St. Pancras (Mr. Lorden), West Woolwich (Sir Kingsley Wood), and others. They have said that although these houses may be sufficient, there may be local authorities by whom a particular type of house is regarded as suitable for their own localities. There may also be local authorities who will say that they could not, consistently with the type of house required in their own area, erect a house precisely to these designs. That is a weighty and legitimate criticism. My right hon. Friend authorises me to say that it is a criticism the weight of which he himself has fully appreciated. He is proposing, when the Bill goes to Committee, as I hope it will, to give further consideration to the question, in order to see whether it is not possible, in some way, to meet the Objection in regard to size without departing from what is the principle of the Bill. How that best can be done is obviously a matter which can be discussed in Committee, but I thought it right, as it is a question that has been raised, and generally discussed in the House, that I should take this opportunity of making that statement.
I pass to one or two criticisms which the hon. Member for Seaham made against the Bill. He said, first of all, that the Bill tied the local authority down too rigidly. If one looks at the Bill, it does not tie the local authority down at all. Except within the limits of space, it leaves the local authority a free hand.
§ The ATTORNEY-GENERAL
If the hon. Member meant by his criticism merely that there ought to be bigger houses, then that seems to me to be a criticism which I have already dealt with, but—
§ Mr. KIRKWOOD
Did you hear what an hon. Member opposite said? [HON. MEMBERS: "Order!" and "Sit down!"]
§ Mr. SPEAKER
If the hon. Member rises to a point of Order and he addresses me—which is the only thing he is entitled to do—will he please say so. Then the House will hear him, and I will hear him.
§ Mr. KIRKWOOD
On a point of Order, Mr. Speaker. I want to draw your attention to this, that from the other side of the House they addressed our representative, an hon. Member of the House, a revered Member of our party—
§ Mr. SPEAKER
If I had heard an expression of that kind, I should have said it was grossly out of order. [HON. MEMBERS: "Withdraw!" and "Name!"] If hon. Members desire to prevent disorderly remarks of that kind, they must be quiet enough to give me the opportunity, and they may be perfectly assured that, from whichever side of the House it come, I shall insist upon its withdrawal.
§ Mr. LAWSON
On a point of Order. I want, as one who never interferes and never interrupts, to put it that from the bench opposite, nearly under the Gangway, from one of the two Gentlemen at the end, that insulting insinuation was made, and we have a right to have an apology to a Member who never interrupts. I want to make the definite suggestion that the Noble Lord the Member for South Battersea (Viscount Curzon) made the remark.
§ Question put, "That the Question be now put."
§ The House divided: Ayes, 305; Noes, 153.625
|Division No. 110.]||AYES.||[11.0 p.m.|
|Agg-Gardner, Sir James Tynte||Du Pre, Colonel William Baring||Lloyd, Cyril E. (Dudley)|
|Ainsworth, Captain Charles||Edmondson, Major A. J.||Locker-Lampson, G. (Wood Green)|
|Alexander, E. E. (Leyton, East)||Ednam, Viscount||Lorden, John William|
|Alexander, Col. M. (Southwark)||Elliot, Capt. Walter E. (Lanark)||Lorimer, H. D.|
|Allen, Lieut.-Col. Sir William James||Ellis, R. G.||Lort-Williams, J.|
|Amery, Rt. Hon. Leopold C. M. S.||England, Lieut.-Colonel A.||Lougher, L.|
|Apsley, Lord||Erskine, James Malcolm Monteith||Lowe, Sir Francis William|
|Archer-Shee, Lieut.-Colonel Martin||Erskine, Lord (Weston-super-Mare)||Loyd, Arthur Thomas (Abingdon)|
|Ashley, Lt.-Col. Wilfrid W.||Erskine-Bolst, Captain C.||Lumley, L. R.|
|Astbury, Lieut.-Com. Frederick W.||Eyres-Monsell, Com. Bolton M.||Lyle-Samuel, Alexander|
|Astor, J. J. (Kent, Dover)||Falcon, Captain Michael||Macnaghten, Hon. Sir Malcolm|
|Baird, Rt. Hon. Sir John Lawrence||Falle, Major Sir Bertram Godfray||McNeill, Ronald (Kent, Canterbury)|
|Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley||Fawkes, Major F. H.||Malone, Major P. B. (Tottenham, S.)|
|Balfour, George (Hampstead)||Fermor-Hesketh, Major T.||Manville, Edward|
|Banner, Sir John S. Harmood-||Ford, Patrick Johnston||Margesson, H. D. R.|
|Barlow, Rt. Hon. Sir Montague||Foreman, Sir Henry||Mason, Lieut.-Col. C. K.|
|Barnett, Major Richard W.||Forest[...]er-Walker, L.||Mercer, Colonel H.|
|Barnston, Major Harry||Foxcroft, Captain Charles Talbot||Milne, J. S. Wardlaw|
|Becker, Harry||Fraser, Major Sir Keith||Mitchell, W. F. (Saffron Walden)|
|Bell, Lieut.-Col. W. C. H. (Devizes)||Frece, Sir Walter de||Mitchell, Sir W. Lane (Streatham)|
|Bellairs, Commander Carlyon W.||Fremantle, Lieut.-Colonel Francis E.||Molloy, Major L. G. S.|
|Benn, Sir A. S. (Plymouth, Drake)||Furness, G. J.||Molson, Major John Elsdale|
|Bennett, A. J. (Mansfield)||Galbraith, J. F. W.||Moore, Major-General Sir Newton J.|
|Bennett, Sir T. J. (Sevenoaks)||Ganzoni, Sir John||Moore-Brabazon, Lieut.-Col. J. T. C.|
|Bentinck, Lord Henry Cavendish-||Gates, Percy||Morrison, Hugh (Wilts, Salisbury)|
|Berry, Sir George||Gaunt, Rear-Admiral Sir Guy R.||Morrison-Bell, Major A. C. (Honiton)|
|Betterton, Henry B.||Gould, James C.||Murchison, C. K.|
|Birchall, Major J. Dearman||Gray, Harold (Cambridge)||Nesbitt, Robert C.|
|Blundell, F. N.||Greaves-Lord, Walter||Newman, Colonel J. R. P. (Finchley)|
|Bonwick, A.||Greene, Lt.-Col. Sir W. (Hack'y, N.)||Newman, Sir R. H. S. D. L. (Exeter)|
|Bowyer, Capt. G. E. W.||Greenwood, William (Stockport)||Newson, Sir Percy Wilson|
|Boyd-Carpenter, Major A.||Grenfell, Edward C. (City of London)||Newton, Sir D. G. C. (Cambridge)|
|Brass, Captain W.||Gretton, Colonel John||Nicholson, Brig.-Gen. J. (Westminster)|
|Brassey, Sir Leonard||Guinness, Lieut.-Col. Hon. W. E.||Nicholson, William G. (Petersfield)|
|Bridgeman, Rt. Hon. William Clive||Gwynne, Rupert S.||Nield, Sir Herbert|
|Briggs, Harold||Hacking, Captain Douglas H.||Norman, Major Rt. Hon. Sir Henry|
|Brittain, Sir Harry||Hall, Lieut.-Col. Sir F. (Dulwich)||Norton-Griffiths, Lieut.-Col. Sir John|
|Brown, Major D. C. (Hexham)||Hall, Rr-Adml Sir W. (Liv'p'l, W. D'by)||Oman, Sir Charles William C.|
|Brown, Brig.-Gen. Clifton (Newbury)||Halstead, Major D.||Ormsby-Gore, Hon. William|
|Brown, J. W. (Middlesbrough, E.)||Hamilton, Sir George C. (Altrincham)||Paget, T. G.|
|Bruford, R.||Hancock, John George||Parker, Owen (Kettering)|
|Bruton, Sir James||Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry||Pease, William Edwin|
|Buckingham, Sir H.||Harrison, F. C.||Pennefather, De Fonblanque|
|Buckley, Lieut.-Colonel A.||Harvey, Major S. E.||Penny, Frederick George|
|Bull, Rt. Hon. Sir William James||Hawke, John Anthony||Percy, Lord Eustace (Hastings)|
|Burn, Colonel Sir Charles Rosdew||Hay, Major T. W. (Norfolk, South)||Perkins, Colonel E. K.|
|Burney, Com. (Middx., Uxbridge)||Henn, Sir Sydney H.||Perring, William George|
|Butcher, Sir John George||Hennessy, Major J. R. G.||Peto, Basil E.|
|Butler, H. M. (Leeds, North)||Herbert, Dennis (Hertford, Watford)||Pielou, D. P.|
|Butler, J. R. M. (Cambridge Univ.)||Herbert, S. (Scarborough)||Pilditch, Sir Philip|
|Butt, Sir Alfred||Hewett, Sir J. P.||Pollock, Rt. Hon. Sir Ernest Murray|
|Cadogan, Major Edward||Hilder, Lieut.-Colonel Frank||Pownall, Lieut.-Colonel Assheton|
|Cassels, J. D.||Hiley, Sir Ernest||Preston, Sir W. R.|
|Cautley, Henry Strother||Hoare, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir S. J. G.||Pretyman, Rt. Hon. Ernest G.|
|Cayzer, Sir C. (Chester, City)||Hogg, Rt. Hon. Sir D. (St. Marylebone)||Privett, F. J.|
|Cecil, Rt. Hon. Sir Evelyn (Aston)||Hohler, Gerald Fitzroy||Rae, Sir Henry N.|
|Cecil, Rt. Hon. Lord H. (Ox. Univ.)||Holbrook, Sir Arthur Richard||Raeburn, Sir William H.|
|Chadwick, Sir Robert Burton||Hood, Sir Joseph||Raine, W.|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. N. (Ladywood)||Hopkins, John W. W.||Rankin, Captain James Stuart|
|Chapman, Sir S.||Houfton, John Plowright||Rawlinson, Rt. Hon. John Fredk. Peel|
|Churchman, Sir Arthur||Howard, Capt. D. (Cumberland, N.)||Rawson, Lieut.-Com. A. C.|
|Clarry, Reginald George||Howard-Bury, Lieut.-Col. C. K.||Rees, Sir Beddoe|
|Clayton, G. C.||Hudson, Capt. A.||Reid, D. D. (County Down)|
|Cobb, Sir Cyril||Hume, G. H.||Remer, J. R.|
|Cockerill, Brigadier-General G. K.||Hume-Williams, Sir W. Ellis||Rentoul, G. S.|
|Colfox, Major Wm. Phillips||Hurd, Percy A.||Reynolds, W. G. W.|
|Colvin, Brig.-General Richard Beale||Hurst, Lt.-Col. Gerald Berkeley||Richardson, Lt.-Col. Sir P. (Chertsey)|
|Cope, Major William||Hutchison, G. A. C. (Midlothian, N.)||Roberts, C. H. (Derby)|
|Cory, Sir J. H. (Cardiff, South)||Hutchison, W. (Kelvingrove)||Roberts, Rt. Hon. G. H. (Norwich)|
|Courthope, Lieut.-Col. George L.||Inskip, Sir Thomas Walker H.||Roberts, Samuel (Hereford, Hereford)|
|Craig, Captain C. C. (Antrim, South)||Jackson, Lieut.-Colonel Hon. F. S.||Roberts, Rt. Hon. Sir S. (Ecclesall)|
|Craik, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry||Jodrell, Sir Neville Paul||Robertson-Despencer, Major (Isl'gt'n W.)|
|Croft, Lieut.-Colonel Henry Page||Johnstone, Harcourt (Willesden, East)||Robinson, Sir T. (Lancs., Stretford)|
|Crook, C. W. (East Ham, North)||Jones, G. W. H. (Stoke Newington)||Rogerson, Capt. J. E.|
|Curzon, Captain Viscount||Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth)||Roundell, Colonel R. F.|
|Davidson, J. C. C. (Hemel Hempstead)||Joynson-Hicks, Sir William||Ruggles-Brise, Major E.|
|Davidson, Major-General Sir J. H.||Kelley, Major Fred (Rotherham)||Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)|
|Davies, David (Montgomery)||Kennedy, Captain M. S. Nigel||Russell, William (Bolton)|
|Davies, Thomas (Cirencester)||King, Captain Henry Douglas||Russell-Wells, Sir Sydney|
|Davison, Sir W. H. (Kensington, S.)||Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement||Samuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham)|
|Dawson, Sir Philip||Lamb, J. Q.||Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney)|
|Dixon, C. H. (Rutland)||Lane-Fox, Lieut.-Colonel G. R.||Sanders, Rt. Hon. Sir Robert A.|
|Doyle, N. Grattan||Law, Rt. Hon. A. B. (Glasgow, C.)||Sanderson, Sir Frank B.|
|Sandon, Lord||Stott, Lt.-Col. W. H.||Wheler, Col. Granville C. H.|
|Sassoon, Sir Philip Albert Gustave D.||Stuart, Lord C. Crichton-||White, Col. G. D. (Southport)|
|Scott, Sir Leslie (Liverp'l, Exchange)||Sueter, Rear-Admiral Murray Fraser||Whitla, Sir William|
|Sheffield, Sir Berkeley||Sugden, Sir Wilfrid H.||Willey, Arthur|
|Shepperson, E. W.||Sykes, Major-Gen. Sir Frederick H.||Wilson, Col. M. J. (Richmond)|
|Shipwright, Captain D.||Terrell, Captain R. (Oxford, Henley)||Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel G.|
|Simms, Dr. John M. (Co. Down)||Thompson, Luke (Sunderland)||Winfrey, Sir Richard|
|Simpson-Hinchcliffe, W. A.||Thomson, F. C. (Aberdeen, South)||Winterton, Earl|
|Singleton, J. E.||Thorpe, Captain John Henry||Wise, Frederick|
|Skelton, A. N.||Titchfield, Marquess of||Wolmer, Viscount|
|Smith, Sir Allan M. (Croydon, South)||Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement||Wood, Sir H. K. (Woolwich, West)|
|Smith, Sir Harold (Wavertree)||Tubbs, S. W.||Wood, Maj. Sir S. Hill- (High Peak)|
|Somerville, A. A. (Windsor)||Turton, Edmund Russborough||Woodcock, Colonel H. C.|
|Somerville, Daniel (Barrow-in-Furness)||Vaughan-Morgan, Col. K. P.||Worthington-Evans, Rt. Hon. Sir L.|
|Sparkes, H. W.||Wallace, Captain E.||Yerburgh, R. D. T.|
|Spencer, H. H. (Bradford, S.)||Ward, Col. L. (Kingston-upon-Hull)||Young, Robert (Lancaster, Newton)|
|Stanley, Lord||Waring, Major Walter|
|Steel, Major S. Strang||Watson, Capt. J. (Stockton-on-Tees)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Stewart, Gershom (Wirral)||Watts, Dr. T. (Man., Withington)||Colonel Leslie Wilson and Colonel|
|Stockton, Sir Edwin Forsyth||Wells, S. R.||Gibbs.|
|Adams, D.||Harbord, Arthur||Phillipps, Vivian|
|Adamson, W. M. (Staff., Cannock)||Harney, E. A.||Ponsonby, Arthur|
|Alexander, A. V. (Sheffield, Hillsbro')||Hay, Captain J. P. (Cathcart)||Price, E. G.|
|Barker, G. (Monmouth, Abertillery)||Hayday, Arthur||Richards, R.|
|Barnes, A.||Hayes, John Henry (Edge Hill)||Richardson, R. (Houghton-le Spring)|
|Barrie, Sir Charles Coupar (Banff)||Henderson, Sir T. (Roxburgh)||Riley, Ben|
|Batey, Joseph||Henderson, T. (Glasgow)||Ritson, J.|
|Benn, Captain Wedgwood (Leith)||Herriotts, J.||Rose, Frank H.|
|Berkeley, Captain Reginald||Hill, A.||Royce, William Stapleton|
|Broad, F. A.||Hinds, John||Saklatvala, S.|
|Brown, James (Ayr and Bute)||Hirst, G. H.||Salter, Dr. A.|
|Buchanan, G.||Hutchison, Sir R. (Kirkcaldy)||Scrymgeour, E.|
|Buckle, J.||Jenkins, W. (Glamorgan, Neath)||Shakespeare, G. H.|
|Burgess, S.||John, William (Rhondda, West)||Shinwell, Emanuel|
|Burnie, Major J. (Bootle)||Johnston, Thomas (Stirling)||Short, Alfred (Wednesbury)|
|Buxton, Noel (Norfolk, North)||Jones, J. J. (West Ham, Silvertown)||Simon, Rt. Hon. Sir John|
|Cairns, John||Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)||Sinclair, Sir A.|
|Chapple, W. A.||Jones, T. I. Mardy (Pontypridd)||Smith, T. (Pontefract)|
|Charleton, H. C.||Jowett, F. W. (Bradford, East)||Snell, Harry|
|Collie, Sir John||Lansbury, George||Snowden, Philip|
|Collison, Levi||Leach, W.||Stephenson, Lieut.-Colonel H. K.|
|Cotts, Sir William Dingwall Mitchell||Lee, F.||Stephen, Campbell|
|Darbishire, C. W.||Lees-Smith, H. B. (Keighley)||Stewart, J. (St. Rollox)|
|Davison, J. E. (Smethwick)||Linfield, F. C.||Sturrock, J. Leng|
|Dudgeon, Major C. R.||Lowth, T.||Thomas, Rt. Hon. James H. (Derby)|
|Duffy, T. Gavan||McCurdy, Rt. Hon. Charles A.||Thomas, Sir Robert John (Anglesey)|
|Duncan, C.||Macdonald, Sir Murdoch (Inverness)||Thomson, T. (Middlesbrough, West)|
|Dunnico, H.||M'Entee, V. L.||Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton, E.)|
|Ede, James Chuter||McLaren, Andrew||Turner, Ben|
|Edge, Captain Sir William||Maclean, Neil (Glasgow, Govan)||Wallhead, Richard C.|
|Edmonds, G.||Macnamara, Rt. Hon. Dr. T. J.||Walsh, Stephen (Lancaster, Ince)|
|Emlyn-Jones, J. E. (Dorset, N.)||Macpherson, Rt. Hon. James I.||Warne, G. H.|
|Entwistle, Major C. F.||Marshall, Sir Arthur H.||Watson, W. M. (Dunfermline)|
|Evans, Ernest (Cardigan)||Martin, F. (Aberd'n & Kinc'dine, E.)||Watts-Morgan, Lt.-Col. D. (Rhondda)|
|Fildes, Henry||Maxton, James||Weir, L. M.|
|Foot, Isaac||Middleton, G.||Welsh, J. C.|
|George, Rt. Hon. David Lloyd||Millar, J. D.||Westwood, J.|
|Gosling, Harry||Mond, Rt. Hon. Sir Alfred Moritz||White, Charles F. (Derby, Western)|
|Graham, W. (Edinburgh, Central)||Morris, Harold||White, H. G. (Birkenhead, E.)|
|Gray, Frank (Oxford)||Morrison, R. C. (Tottenham, N.)||Whiteley, W.|
|Greenall, T.||Muir, John W.||Williams, David (Swansea, E.)|
|Greenwood, A. (Nelson and Colne)||Murnin, H.||Williams, Dr. J. H. (Llanelly)|
|Grenfell, D. R. (Glamorgan)||Murray, Hon. A. C. (Aberdeen)||Williams, T. (York. Don Valley)|
|Grigg, Sir Edward||Murray, John (Leeds, West)||Wilson, C. H. (Sheffield, Attercliffe)|
|Groves, T.||Murray, R. (Renfrew, Western)||Wilson, R. J. (Jarrow)|
|Grundy, T. W.||Newbold, J. T. W.||Wintringham, Margaret|
|Guest, Hon. C. H. (Bristol, N.)||Nichol, Robert||Wood, Major M. M. (Aberdeen, C.)|
|Guest, J. (York, Hemsworth)||O'Grady, Captain James||Wright, W.|
|Guthrie, Thomas Maule||Oliver, George Harold||Young, Rt. Hon. E. H. (Norwich)|
|Hall, F. (York W. R., Normanton)||Paling, W.|
|Hall, G. H. (Merthyr Tydvil)||Parker, H. (Hanley)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Hamilton, Sir R. (Orkney & Shetland)||Pattinson, S. (Horncastle)||Mr. Pringle and Lieut.-Commander|
§ Question put accordingly, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question."
§ The House proceeded to a Division.626
Major-General Sir ROBERT HUTCHISON
(seated and covered): On a point of Order. May I have the Amendment standing in my name put—that owing to 627 the inclusion of Scotland in this Bill, the Bill be read this day six months?
§ the House. The House will proceed to the Division.
§ The House divided: Ayes, 340, Noes, 140.631
|Division No. 111.]||AYES.||[11.12 p.m.|
|Agg-Gardner, Sir James Tynte||Cralk, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry||Herbert, S. (Scarborough)|
|Ainsworth, Captain Charles||Croft, Lieut.-Colonel Henry Page||Hewett, Sir J. P.|
|Alexander, E. E. (Leyton, East)||Crook, C. W. (East Ham, North)||Hilder, Lieut.-Colonel Frank|
|Alexander, Col. M. (Southwark)||Curzon, Captain Viscount||Hiley, Sir Ernest|
|Allen, Lieut.-Col. Sir William James||Darbishire, C. W.||Hinds, John|
|Amery, Rt. Hon. Leopold C. M. S.||Davidson, J. C. C. (Hamel Hempstead)||Hoare, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir S. J. C.|
|Apsley, Lord||Davidson, Major-General Sir J. H.||Hogg, Rt. Hon. Sir D. (St. Marylebone)|
|Archer-Shee, Lieut.-Colonel Martin||Davies, David (Montgomery)||Hohler, Gerald Fitzroy|
|Ashley, Lt.-Col. Wilfrid W.||Davies, Thomas (Cirencester)||Holbrook, Sir Arthur Richard|
|Astbury, Lieut.-Com. Frederick W.||Davison, Sir W. H. (Kensington, S.)||Hood, Sir Joseph|
|Astor, J. J. (Kent, Dover)||Dawson, Sir Philip||Hopkins, John W. W.|
|Baird, Rt. Hon. Sir John Lawrence||Dixon, C. H. (Rutland)||Houfton, John Plowright|
|Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley||Doyle, N. Grattan||Howard, Capt. D. (Cumberland, N.)|
|Balfour, George (Hampstead)||Du Pre, Colonel William Baring||Howard-Bury, Lieut.-Col. C. K.|
|Banner, Sir John S. Harmood-||Edge, Captain Sir William||Hudson, Capt. A.|
|Barlow, Rt. Hon. Sir Montague||Edmonds, G.||Hume, G. H.|
|Barnett, Major Richard W.||Edmondson, Major A. J.||Hume-Williams, Sir W. Ellis|
|Barnston, Major Harry||Ednam, Viscount||Hurd, Percy A.|
|Becker, Harry||Elliot, Capt. Walter E. (Lanark)||Hurst, Lt.-Col. Gerald Berkeley|
|Bell, Lieut.-Col. W. C. H. (Devizes)||Ellis, R. G.||Hutchison, G. A. C. (Midlothian, N.)|
|Bellairs, Commander Carlyon W.||Emlyn-Jones, J. E. (Dorset, N.)||Hutchison, W. (Kelvingrove)|
|Benn, Sir A. S. (Plymouth, Drake)||England, Lieut.-Colonel A.||Inskip, Sir Thomas Walker H.|
|Bennett, A. J. (Mansfield)||Entwistle, Major C. F.||Jackson, Lieut.-Colonel Hon. F. S.|
|Bennett, Sir T. J. (Sevenoaks)||Erskine, James Malcolm Monteith||Jarrett, G. W. S.|
|Bentinck, Lord Henry Cavendish-||Erskine, Lord (Weston-super-Mare)||Jodrell, Sir Neville Paul|
|Berry, Sir George||Erskine-Bolst, Captain C.||Johnstone, Harcourt (Willesden, East)|
|Betterton, Henry B.||Evans, Ernest (Cardigan)||Jones, G. W. H. (Stoke Newington)|
|Birchall, Major J. Dearman||Eyres-Monsell, Com. Bolton M.||Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth)|
|Blundell, F. N.||Falcon, Captain Michael||Joynson-Hicks, Sir William|
|Bonwick, A.||Falle, Major Sir Bertram Godfray||Kelley, Major Fred (Rotherham)|
|Bowyer, Capt. G. E. W.||Fawkes, Major F. H.||Kennedy, Captain M. S. Nigel|
|Boyd-Carpenter, Major A.||Fermor-Hesketh, Major T.||King, Captain Henry Douglas|
|Brass, Captain W.||Fildes, Henry||Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement|
|Brassey, Sir Leonard||Foot, Isaac||Lamb, J. Q.|
|Bridgeman, Rt. Hon. William Clive||Ford, Patrick Johnston||Lane-Fox, Lieut.-Colonel G. R.|
|Briggs, Harold||Foreman, Sir Henry||Law, Rt. Hon. A. B. (Glasgow, C.)|
|Brittain, Sir Harry||Forestier-Walker, L.||Linfield, F. C.|
|Brown, Major D. C. (Hexham)||Foxcroft, Captain Charles Talbot||Lloyd, Cyril E. (Dudley)|
|Brown, Brig.-Gen. Clifton (Newbury)||Fraser, Major Sir Keith||Locker-Lampson, G. (Wood Green)|
|Brown, J. W. (Middlesbrough, E.)||Frece, Sir Walter de||Lorden, John William|
|Bruford, R.||Fremantle, Lieut.-Colonel Francis E.||Lorimer, H. D.|
|Bruton, Sir James||Furness, G. J.||Lort-Williams, J.|
|Buckingham, Sir H.||Galbraith, J. F. W.||Lougher, L.|
|Buckley, Lieut.-Colonel A.||Ganzoni, Sir John||Lowe, Sir Francis William|
|Bull, Rt. Hon. Sir William James||Gates, Percy||Loyd, Arthur Thomas (Abingdon)|
|Burn, Colonel Sir Charles Rosdew||Gaunt, Rear-Admiral Sir Guy R.||Lumley, L. R.|
|Burney, Com. (Middx., Uxbridge)||Gilbert, James Daniel||Lyle-Samuel, Alexander|
|Burnie, Major J. (Bootle)||Gould, James C.||Macnaghten, Hon. Sir Malcolm|
|Butcher, Sir John George||Gray, Frank (Oxford)||McNeill, Ronald (Kent, Canterbury)|
|Butler, H. M. (Leeds, North)||Gray, Harold (Cambridge)||Malone, Major P. B. (Tottenham, S.)|
|Butler, J. R. M. (Cambridge Univ.)||Greaves-Lord, Walter||Manville, Edward|
|Butt, Sir Alfred||Greene, Lt.-Col. Sir W. (Hack'y, N.)||Margesson, H. D. R.|
|Cadogan, Major Edward||Greenwood, William (Stockport)||Mason, Lieut.-Col. C. K.|
|Cassels, J. D.||Grenfell, Edward C. (City of London)||Mercer, Colonel H.|
|Cautley, Henry Strother||Gretton, Colonel John||Milne, J. S. Wardlaw|
|Cayzer, Sir C. (Chester, City)||Grigg, Sir Edward||Mitchell, W. F. (Saffron Walden)|
|Cecil, Rt. Hon. Sir Evelyn (Aston)||Guest, Hon. C. H. (Bristol, N.)||Mitchell, Sir W. Lane (Streatham)|
|Cecil, Rt. Hon. Lord H. (Ox. Univ.)||Guinness, Lieut.-Col. Hon. W. E.||Molloy, Major L. G. S.|
|Chadwick, Sir Robert Burton||Gwynne, Rupert S.||Molson, Major John Elsdale|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. N. (Ladywood)||Hacking, Captain Douglas H.||Moore, Major-General Sir Newton J.|
|Chapman, Sir S.||Hall, Lieut-Col. Sir F. (Dulwich)||Moore-Brabazon, Lieut.-Col. J. T. C.|
|Chapple, W. A.||Hall, Rr-Adml Sir W. (Liv'p'l, W. D'by)||Moreing, Captain Aigernon H.|
|Churchman, Sir Arthur||Haistead, Major D.||Morris, Harold|
|Clarry, Reginald George||Hamilton, Sir George C. (Altrincham)||Morrison, Hugh (Wilts, Salisbury)|
|Clayton, G. C.||Hancock, John George||Morrison-Bell, Major A. C. (Honiton)|
|Cobb, Sir Cyril||Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry||Murchison, C. K.|
|Cockerill, Brigadier-General G. K.||Harbord, Arthur||Murray, John (Leeds, West)|
|Colfox, Major Wm. Phillips||Harney, E. A.||Nesbitt, Robert C.|
|Collie, Sir John||Harrison, F. C.||Newman, Colonel J. R. P. (Finchley)|
|Collison, Levi||Harvey, Major S. E.||Newman, Sir R. H. S. D. L. (Exeter)|
|Colvin, Brig.-General Richard Beale||Hawke, John Anthony||Newson, Sir Percy Wilson|
|Cope, Major William||Hay, Major T. W. (Norfolk, South)||Newton, Sir D. G. C. (Cambridge)|
|Cory, Sir J. H. (Cardiff, South)||Henn, Sir Sydney H.||Nicholson, Brig.-Gen. J. (Westminster)|
|Courthope, Lieut.-Col. George L.||Hennessy, Major J. R. G.||Nicholson, William G. (Petersfield)|
|Craig, Captain C. C. (Antrim, South)||Herbert, Dennis (Hertford, Watford)||Nield, Sir Herbert|
|Norman, Major Rt. Hon. Sir Henry||Robinson, Sir T. (Lancs., Stretford)||Terrell, Captain R. (Oxford, Henley)|
|Norton-Griffiths, Lieut.-Col. Sir John||Rogerson, Capt. J. E.||Thomas, Sir Robert John (Anglesey)|
|Oman, Sir Charles William C.||Roundell, Colonel R. F.||Thompson, Luke (Sunderland)|
|Ormsby-Gore, Hon. William||Ruggles-Brise, Major E.||Thomson, F. C. (Aberdeen, South)|
|Paget, T. G.||Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)||Thomson, T. (Middlesbrough, West)|
|Parker, Owen (Kettering)||Russell, William (Bolton)||Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton, E.)|
|Pattinson, S. (Horncastle)||Russell, Wells, Sir Sydney||Thorpe, Captain John Henry|
|Pease, William Edwin||Samuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham)||Titchfield, Marquess of|
|Pennefather, De Fonblanque||Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney)||Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement|
|Penny, Frederick George||Sanders, Rt. Hon. Sir Robert A.||Tubbs, S. W.|
|Percy, Lord Eustace (Hastings)||Sanderson, Sir Frank B.||Turton, Edmund Russborough|
|Perkins, Colonel E. K.||Sandon, Lord||Vaughan-Morgan, Col. K. P.|
|Perring, William George||Sassoon, Sir Philip Albert Gustave D.||Wallace, Captain E.|
|Peto, Basil E.||Scott, Sir Leslie (Liverp'l, Exchange)||Ward, Col. L. (Kingston-upon-Hull)|
|Pielou, D. P.||Shakespeare, G. H.||Warner, Sir T. Courtenay T.|
|Pilditch, Sir Philip||Sheffield, Sir Berkeley||Watson, Capt. J. (Stockton-on-Tees)|
|Pollock, Rt. Hon. Sir Ernest Murray||Shepperson, E. W.||Watts, Dr. T. (Man., Withington)|
|Pownall, Lieut.-Colonel Assheton||Shipwright, Captain D.||Wells, S. R.|
|Preston, Sir W. H.||Simms, Dr. John M. (Co. Down)||Wheler, Col. Granville C. H.|
|Pretyman, Rt. Hon. Ernest G.||Simpson-Hinchcliffe, W. A.||White, Charles F. (Derby, Western)|
|Price, E. G.||Singleton, J. E.||White, Col. G. D. (Southport)|
|Privett, F. J.||Skelton, A. N.||White, H. G. (Birkenhead, E.)|
|Rae, Sir Henry N.||Smith, Sir Allan M. (Croydon, South)||Willey, Arthur|
|Raeburn, Sir William H.||Smith, Sir Harold (Wavertree)||Wilson, Col. M. J. (Richmond)|
|Raine, W.||Somerville, A. A. (Windsor)||Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel G.|
|Rankin, Captain James Stuart||Somerville, Daniel (Barrow-in-Furness)||Winfrey, Sir Richard|
|Rawlinson, Rt. Hon. John Fredk. Peel||Sparkes, H. W.||Winterton, Earl|
|Rawson, Lieut.-Com. A. C.||Spears, Brig.-Gen. E. L.||Wintringham, Margaret|
|Rees, Sir Beddoe||Stanley, Lord||Wise, Frederick|
|Reid, D. D. (County Down)||Steel, Major S. Strang||Wolmer, Viscount|
|Remer, J. R.||Stephenson, Lieut.-Colonel H. K.||Wood, Sir H. K. (Woolwich, West)|
|Rentoul, G. S.||Stewart, Gershom (Wirral)||Wood, Maj. Sir S. Hill- (High Peak)|
|Reynolds, W. G. W.||Stockton, Sir Edwin Forsyth||Woodcock, Colonel H. C.|
|Richardson, Lt.-Col. Sir P. (Chertsey)||Stott, Lt.-Col. W. H.||Worthington-Evans, Rt. Hon. Sir L.|
|Roberts, C. H. (Derby)||Strauss, Edward Anthony||Yerburgh, R. D. T.|
|Roberts, Rt. Hon. G. H. (Norwich)||Stuart, Lord C. Crichton||Young, Rt. Hon. E. H. (Norwich)|
|Roberts, Samuel (Hereford, Hereford)||Sueter, Rear-Admiral Murray Fraser|
|Roberts, Rt. Hon. Sir S. (Ecclesall)||Sugden, Sir Wilfrid H.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Robertson-Despencer, Major (Isl'gt'n W)||Sykes, Major-Gen. Sir Frederick H.||Colonel Leslie Wilson and Colonel|
|Adams, D.||Hall, F. (York, W. R., Normanton)||Murnin, H.|
|Adamson, Rt. Hon. William||Hall, G. H. (Merthyr Tydvil)||Murray, R. (Renfrew, Western)|
|Adamson, W. M. (Staff., Cannock)||Hard[...]e, George D.||Newbold, J. T. W.|
|Alexander, A. V. (Sheffield, Hillsbro')||Hartshorn, Vernon||Nichol, Robert|
|Ammon, Charles George||Hastings, Patrick||O'Grady, Captain James|
|Attlee, C. R.||Hay, Captain J. P. (Cathcart)||Oliver, George Harold|
|Barker, G. (Monmouth, Abertillery)||Hayday, Arthur||Paling, W.|
|Barnes, A.||Hayes, John Henry (Edge Hill)||Parker, H. (Hanley)|
|Barrie, Sir Charles Coupar (Banff)||Hemmerde, E. G.||Ponsonby, Arthur|
|Batey, Joseph||Henderson, Sir T. (Roxburgh)||Potts, John S.|
|Berkeley, Captain Reginald||Henderson, T. (Glasgow)||Pringle, W. M. R.|
|Bowerman, Rt. Hon. Charles W.||Herriotts, J.||Richards, R.|
|Broad, F. A.||Hill, A.||Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring)|
|Bromfield, William||Hirst, G. H.||Riley, Ben|
|Brotherton, J.||Hutchison, Sir R. (Kirkcaldy)||Ritson, J.|
|Brown, James (Ayr and Bute)||Jenkins, W. (Glamorgan, Neath)||Roberts, Frederick O. (W. Bromwich)|
|Buchanan, G.||John, William (Rhondda, West)||Robertson, J. (Lanark, Bothwell)|
|Buckle, J.||Johnston, Thomas (Stirling)||Robinson, W. C. (York, Elland)|
|Burgess, S.||Jones, J. J. (West Ham, Silvertown)||Rose, Frank H.|
|Buxton, Charles (Accrington)||Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)||Royce, William Stapleton|
|Buxton, Noel (Norfolk, North)||Jones, T. I. Mardy (Pontypridd)||Saklatvala, S.|
|Cairns, John||Jowett, F. W. (Bradford, East)||Salter, Dr. A.|
|Cape, Thomas||Kenworthy, Lieut.-Commander J. M.||Scrymgeour, E.|
|Charleton, H. C.||Kirkwood, D.||Sexton, James|
|Clynes, Rt. Hon. John R.||Lansbury, George||Shaw, Thomas (Preston)|
|Cotts, Sir William Dingwall Mitchell||Lawson, John James||Shinwell, Emanuel|
|Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton)||Leach, W.||Short, Alfred (Wednesbury)|
|Davison, J. E. (Smethwick)||Lee, F.||Sinclair, Sir A.|
|Dudgeon, Major C. R.||Lees-Smith, H. B. (Keighley)||Smith, T. (Pontefract)|
|Duffy, T. Gavan||Lowth, T.||Snell, Harry|
|Duncan, C.||Lunn, William||Snowden, Philip|
|Dunnico, H.||Macdonald, Sir Murdoch (Inverness)||Spencer, H. H. (Bradford, S.)|
|Ede, James Chuter||M'Entee, V. L.||Stephen, Campbell|
|Gosling, Harry||McLaren, Andrew||Stewart, J. (St. Rollox)|
|Graham, W. (Edinburgh, Central)||Maclean, Neil (Glasgow, Govan)||Sturrock, J. Leng|
|Greenall, T.||Macpherson, Rt. Hon. James I.||Thomas, Rt. Hon. James H. (Derby)|
|Greenwood, A. (Nelson and Colne)||March, S.||Trevelyan, C. P.|
|Grenfell, D. R. (Glamorgan)||Maxton, James||Turner, Ben|
|Groves, T.||Middleton, G.||Wallhead, Richard C.|
|Grundy, T. W.||Morel, E. D.||Walsh, Stephen (Lancaster, Ince)|
|Guest, J. (York, W. R., Hemsworth)||Morrison, R. C. (Tottenham, N.)||Warne, G. H.|
|Guthrie, Thomas Maule||Muir, John W.||Watson, W. M. (Dunfermline)|
|Watts-Morgan, Lt.-Col. D. (Rhondda)||Whiteley, W.||Wright, W.|
|Webb, Sidney||Williams, David (Swansea, E.)||Young, Robert (Lancaster, Newton)|
|Weir, L. M.||Williams, Dr. J. H. (Llanelly)|
|Welsh, J. C.||Williams, T. (York. Don Valley)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Westwood, J.||Wilson, C. H. (Sheffield, Attercliffe)||Mr. Arthur Henderson and Mr. T.|
|Wheatley, J.||Wilson, R. J. (Jarrow)||Griffiths.|
Bill read a Second time.
§ Motion made, and Question put, "That the Bill be committed to a Committee of632
§ the Whole House."—[Captain Wedgwood Benn.]
§ The House divided: Ayes, 75; Noes, 310.633
|Division No. 112.]||AYES.||[11.25 p.m.|
|Adams, D.||Henderson, Sir T. (Roxburgh)||Roberts, C. H. (Derby)|
|Barker, G. (Monmouth, Abertillery)||Hirst, G. H.||Rose, Frank H.|
|Benn, Captain Wedgwood (Leith)||Hutchison, Sir R. (Kirkcaldy)||Royce, William Stapleton|
|Berkeley, Captain Reginald||Jarrett, G. W. S.||Scrymgeour, E.|
|Butler, J. R. M. (Cambridge Univ.)||Johnston, Thomas (Stirling)||Shakespeare, G. H.|
|Chapple, W. A.||Jowett, F. W. (Bradford, East)||Shaw, Thomas (Preston)|
|Cotts, Sir William Dingwall Mitchell||Kenworthy, Lieut.-Commander J. M.||Short, Alfred (Wednesbury)|
|Davison, J. E. (Smithwick)||Linfield, F. C.||Simon, Rt. Hon. Sir John|
|Dudgeon, Major C. R.||Lyle-Samuel, Alexander||Sinclair, Sir A.|
|Duffy, T. Gavan||Macdonald, Sir Murdoch (Inverness)||Spencer, H. H. (Bradford, S.)|
|Dunnico, H.||Macpherson, Rt. Hon. James I.||Stephenson, Lieut.-Colonel H. K.|
|Ede, James Chuter||Marshall, Sir Arthur H.||Sturrock, J. Leng|
|Edge, Captain Sir William||Martin, F. (Aberd'n & Kinc'dine, E.)||Thomas, Rt. Hon. James H. (Derby)|
|Falconer, J.||Middleton, G.||Thomson, T. (Middlesbrough, West)|
|Foot, Isaac||Millar, J. D.||Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton, E.)|
|Gray, Frank (Oxford)||Mond, Rt. Hon. Sir Alfred Moritz||Weir, L. M.|
|Greenall, T.||Morris, Harold||Wheatley, J.|
|Greenwood, A. (Nelson and Colne)||Morrison, R. C. (Tottenham, N.)||White, Charles F. (Derby, Western)|
|Graves, T.||Murray, John (Leeds, West)||White, H. G. (Birkenhead, E.)|
|Grundy, T. W.||Newbold, J. T. W.||Wintringham, Margaret|
|Guest, Hon. C. H. (Bristol, N.)||O'Grady, Captain James||Wood, Major M. M. (Aberdeen, C.)|
|Guest, J. (York, W. R., Hemsworth)||Oliver, George Harold||Young, Rt. Hon. E. H. (Norwich)|
|Guthrie, Thomas Maule||Paling, W.||Young, Robert (Lancaster, Newton)|
|Hall, F. (York, W. R., Normanton)||Price, E. G.|
|Hamilton, Sir R. (Orkney & Shetland)||Pringle, W. M. R.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Harney, E. A.||Ritson, J.||Mr. Phillips and Lieut.-Colonel A.|
|Adamson, W. M. (Staff., Cannock)||Brittain, Sir Harry||Croft, Lieut.-Colonel Henry Page|
|Agg-Gardner, Sir James Tynte||Brown, Major D. C. (Hexham)||Crook, C. W. (East Ham, North)|
|Ainsworth, Captain Charles||Brown, Brig.-Gen. Clifton (Newbury)||Curzon, Captain Viscount|
|Alexander, E. E. (Leyton, East)||Brown, J. W. (Middlesbrough, E.)||Darbishire, C. W.|
|Alexander, Col. M. (Southwark)||Bruford, R.||Davidson, J. C. C. (Hemel Hempstead)|
|Allen, Lieut.-Col. Sir William James||Bruton, Sir James||Davidson, Major-General Sir J. H.|
|Amery, Rt. Hon. Leopold C. M. S.||Buckingham, Sir H.||Davies, David (Montgomery)|
|Apsley, Lord||Buckley, Lieut.-Colonel A.||Davies, Thomas (Cirencester)|
|Archer-Shee, Lieut.-Colonel Martin||Bull, Rt. Hon. Sir William James||Davison, Sir W. H. (Kensington, S.)|
|Ashley, Lt.-Col. Wilfrid W.||Burn, Colonel Sir Charles Rosdew||Dawson, Sir Philip|
|Astbury, Lieut.-Com. Frederick W.||Burney, Com, (Middx., Uxbridge)||Dixon, C. H. (Rutland)|
|Astor, J. J. (Kent, Dover)||Butcher, Sir John George||Doyle, N. Grattan|
|Baird, Rt. Hon. Sir John Lawrence||Butler, H. M. (Leeds, North)||Du Pre, Colonel William Baring|
|Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley||Butt, Sir Alfred||Edmondson, Major A. J.|
|Balfour, George (Hampstead)||Cadogan, Major Edward||Ednam, Viscount|
|Banner, Sir John S. Harmood-||Cassels, J. D.||Elliot, Capt. Walter E. (Lanark)|
|Barlow, Rt. Hon. Sir Montague||Cautley, Henry Strother||Ellis, R. G.|
|Barnett, Major Richard W.||Cayzer, Sir C. (Chester, City)||Emlyn-Jones. J. E. (Dorset, N.)|
|Barnston, Major Harry||Cecil, Rt. Hon. Sir Evelyn (Aston)||England, Lieut.-Colonel A.|
|Barrie, Sir Charles Coupar (Banff)||Cecil, Rt. Hon. Lord H. (Ox. Univ.)||Entwistle, Major C. F.|
|Becker, Harry||Chadwick, Sir Robert Burton||Erskine, Lord (Weston-super-Mare)|
|Bell, Lieut. Col. W. C. H. (Devizes)||Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. N. (Ladywood)||Erskine-Bolst, Captain C.|
|Bellairs, Commander Carlyon W.||Chapman, Sir S.||Eyres-Monsell, Com. Bolton M.|
|Bennett, A. J. (Mansfield)||Churchman, Sir Arthur||Falcon, Captain Michael|
|Bennett, Sir T. J. (Sevenoaks)||Clarry, Reginald George||Falle, Major Sir Bertram Godfray|
|Bentinck, Lord Henry Cavendish-||Clayton, G. C.||Fawkes, Major F. H.|
|Berry, Sir George||Cobb, Sir Cyril||Fermor-Hesketh, Major T.|
|Betterton, Henry B.||Cockerill, Brigadier-General G. K.||Ford, Patrick Johnston|
|Birchall, Major J. Dearman||Colfox, Major Wm. Phillips||Foreman, Sir Henry|
|Blundell, F. N.||Collie, Sir John||Forestier-Walker, L.|
|Bonwick, A.||Collison, Levi||Foxcroft, Captain Charles Talbot|
|Bowyer, Capt. G. E. W.||Colvin, Brig.-General Richard Beale||Fraser, Major Sir Keith|
|Boyd-Carpenter, Major A.||Cope, Major William||Frece, Sir Walter de|
|Brass, Captain W.||Cory, Sir J. H. (Cardiff, South)||Fremantle, Lieut. Colonel Francis E.|
|Brassey, Sir Leonard||Courthope, Lieut.-Col. George L.||Furness, G. J.|
|Bridgeman, Rt. Hon. William Clive||Craig, Captain C. C. (Antrim, South)||Galbraith, J. F. W.|
|Briggs, Harold||Craik, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry||Ganzoni, Sir John|
|Gates, Percy||Lumley, L. R.||Russell, William (Bolton)|
|Gaunt, Rear-Admiral Sir Guy R.||Macnaghten, Hon. Sir Malcolm||Russell-Wells, Sir Sydney|
|Gould, James C.||McNeill, Ronald (Kent, Canterbury)||Samuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham)|
|Gray, Harold (Cambridge)||Malone, Major P. B. (Tottenham, S.)||Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney)|
|Greaves-Lord, Walter||Manville, Edward||Sanders, Rt. Hon. Sir Robert A.|
|Greene, Lt.-Col. Sir W. (Hack'y, N.)||Margesson, H. D. R.||Sanderson, Sir Frank B.|
|Greenwood, William (Stockport)||Mason, Lieut.-Col. C. K.||Sandon, Lord|
|Grenfell, Edward C. (City of London)||Mercer, Colonel H.||Sassoon, Sir Philip Albert Gustave D.|
|Gretton, Colonel John||Milne, J. S. Wardlaw||Scott, Sir Leslie (Liverp'l, Exchange)|
|Grigg, Sir Edward||Mitchell, W. F. (Saffron Walden)||Sheffield, Sir Berkeley|
|Guinness, Lieut.-Col. Hon. W. E.||Mitchell, Sir W. Lane (Streatham)||Shepperson, E. W.|
|Gwynne, Rupert S.||Molloy, Major L. G. S.||Shipwright, Captain D.|
|Hacking, Captain Douglas H.||Molson, Major John Elsdale||Simms, Dr. John M. (Co. Down)|
|Hall, Lieut.-Col. Sir F. (Dulwich)||Moore, Major-General Sir Newton J.||Simpson-Hinchcliffe, W. A.|
|Hall, Rr-Adml Sir W. (Liv'p'l, W. D'by)||Moore-Brabazon, Lieut.-Col. J. T. C.||Singleton, J. E.|
|Halstead, Major D.||Moreing, Captain Algernon H.||Skelton, A. N.|
|Hamilton, Sir George C. (Altrincham)||Morrison, Hugh (Wilts, Salisbury)||Smith, Sir Allan M. (Croydon, South)|
|Hancock, John George||Morrison-Bell, Major A. C. (Honiton)||Smith, Sir Harold (Wavertree)|
|Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry||Murchison, C. K.||Somerville, A. A. (Windsor)|
|Harbord, Arthur||Nesbitt, Robert C.||Somerville, Daniel (Barrow-in-Furness)|
|Harrison, F. C.||Newman, Colonel J. R. P. (Finchley)||Sparkes, H. W.|
|Harvey, Major S. E.||Newman, Sir R. H. S. D. L. (Exeter)||Spears, Brig.-Gen. E. L.|
|Hawke, John Anthony||Newson, Sir Percy Wilson||Stanley, Lord|
|Hay, Major T. W. (Norfolk, South)||Newton, Sir D. G. C. (Cambridge)||Steel, Major S. Strang|
|Henn, Sir Sydney H.||Nicholson, Brig.-Gen. J. (Westminster)||Stewart, Gershom (Wirral)|
|Hennessy, Major J. R. G.||Nicholson, William G. (Petersfield)||Stockton, Sir Edwin Forsyth|
|Herbert, Dennis (Hertford, Watford)||Nield, Sir Herbert||Stott, Lt.-Col. W. H.|
|Herbert, S. (Scarborough)||Norman, Major Rt. Hon. Sir Henry||Stuart, Lord C. Crichton-|
|Hewett, Sir J. P.||Norton-Griffiths, Lieut.-Col. Sir John||Sueter, Rear-Admiral Murray Fraser|
|Hilder, Lieut.-Colonel Frank||Oman, Sir Charles William C.||Sugden, Sir Wilfrid H.|
|Hiley, Sir Ernest||Ormsby-Gore, Hon. William||Sykes, Major-Gen. Sir Frederick H.|
|Hinds, John||Paget, T. G.||Terrell, Captain R. (Oxford, Henley)|
|Hoare, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir S. J. G.||Parker, Owen (Kettering)||Thomas, Sir Robert John (Anglesey)|
|Hogg, Rt. Hon. Sir D. (St. Marylebone)||Pattinson, S. (Horncastle)||Thompson, Luke (Sunderland)|
|Hohler, Gerald Fitzroy||Pease, William Edwin||Thomson, F. C. (Aberdeen, S.)|
|Holbrook, Sir Arthur Richard||Pennefather, De Fonblanque||Thorpe, Captain John Henry|
|Hood, Sir Joseph||Penny, Frederick George||Titchfield, Marquess of|
|Hopkins, John W. W.||Percy, Lord Eustace (Hastings)||Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement|
|Houfton, John Plowright||Perkins, Colonel E. K.||Tubbs, S. W.|
|Howard, Capt. D. (Cumberland, N.)||Perring, William George||Turner, Ben|
|Howard-Bury, Lieut.-Col. C. K.||Peto, Basil E.||Turton, Edmund Russborough|
|Hudson, Capt. A.||Pleiou, D. P.||Vaughan-Morgan, Col. K. P.|
|Hume, G. H.||Pollock, Rt. Hon. Sir Ernest Murray||Wallace, Captain E.|
|Hurd, Percy A.||Pownall, Lieut.-Colonel Assheton||Ward, Col. L. (Kingston-upon-Hull)|
|Hurst, Lt.-Col. Gerald Berkeley||Preston, Sir W. R.||Waring, Major Walter|
|Hutchison, G. A. C. (Midlothian, N.)||Pretyman, Rt. Hon. Ernest G.||Warner, Sir T. Courtenay T.|
|Hutchison, W. (Kelvingrove)||Privett, F. J.||Watson, Capt. J. (Stockton-on-Tees)|
|Inskip, Sir Thomas Walker H.||Rae, Sir Henry N.||Watts, Dr. T. (Man., Withington)|
|Jackson, Lieut.-Colonel Hon. F. S.||Raeburn, Sir William H.||Wells, S. R.|
|Jodrell, Sir Neville Paul||Raine, W.||Wheler, Col. Granville C. H.|
|Johnstone, Harcourt (Willesden, East)||Rankin, Captain James Stuart||White, Col. G. D. (Southport)|
|Jones, G. W. H. (Stoke Newington)||Rawlinson, Rt. Hon. John Fredk. Peel||Whitla, Sir William|
|Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth)||Rawson, Lieut.-Com. A. C.||Willey, Arthur|
|Joynson-Hicks, Sir William||Rees, Sir Beddoe||Wilson, Col. M. J. (Richmond)|
|Kelley, Major Fred (Rotherham)||Reid, D. D. (County Down)||Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel G.|
|Kennedy, Captain M. S. Nigel||Remer, J. R.||Winfrey, Sir Richard|
|King, Captain Henry Douglas||Rentoul, G. S.||Winterton, Earl|
|Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement||Reynolds, W. G. W.||Wise, Frederick|
|Lamb, J. Q.||Richardson, Lt.-Col. Sir P. (Chertsey)||Wolmer, Viscount|
|Lane-Fox, Lieut.-Colonel G. R.||Roberts, Rt. Hon. G. H. (Norwich)||Wood, Sir H. K. (Woolwich, West)|
|Lloyd, Cyril E. (Dudley)||Roberts, Samuel (Hereford, Hereford)||Wood, Maj. Sir S. Hill- (High Peak)|
|Locker-Lampson, G. (Wood Green)||Roberts, Rt. Hon. Sir S. (Ecclesall)||Woodcock, Colonel H. C.|
|Lorden, John William||Robertson-Despencer, Major (Isl'gt'n W)||Worthington-Evans, Rt. Hon. Sir L.|
|Lorimer, H. D.||Robinson, Sir T. (Lancs., Stretford)||Yerburgh, R. D. T.|
|Lort-Williams, J.||Rogerson, Capt. J. E.|
|Lougher, L.||Roundell, Colonel R. F.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Lowe, Sir Francis William||Ruggles-Brise, Major E.||Colonel Leslie Wilson and Colonel|
|Loyd, Arthur Thomas (Abingdon)||Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)||Gibbs.|
Bill committed to a Standing Committee.
§ The remaining Orders were read, and postponed.634
§ It being after Half-past Eleven of the Clock, Mr. SPEAKER adjourned the House, without Question put, pursuant to the Standing Order.
§ Adjourned at Twenty-three Minutes before Twelve o'Clock.