§ 55. Mr. SUNLIGHT
asked the Minister of Health what procedure or steps, under the Housing Act, 1923, his Department takes to verify that a local authority has not refused offers from private builders to build houses under the subsidy in preference to building themselves?
§ Sir W. JOYNSON-HICKS
In connection with an application from a local authority to erect houses themselves under the provisions of the Housing, etc., Act, 1923, the authority are required to satisfy me that this is the most appropriate way of meeting the needs of their area. If it should appear that a local authority had refused offers from private builders to erect the working-class houses required with the aid of a subsidy, I should require to be informed of all the circumstances and the reasons for the refusal, and should consider these in connection with the council's application. Out of 89,510 houses in approved schemes, 57,577 are to be built by private builders.
§ 60. Mr. WILBERFORCE ALLEN
asked the Minister of Health if he is aware that considerable hardship is being caused to many persons by reason of the existing restrictions on the granting of subsidies in respect of houses commenced by them before October last which pre- 513 vent them completing such houses; and whether he will take steps so to amend the law as to allow of subsidies for houses commenced at an earlier date?
§ Sir W. JOYNSON-HICKS
As the answer is rather long, I propose, with permission, to circulate it in the OFFICIAL REPORT.
Following is the answer:
The hon. Member would appear to be under a misapprehension as regards the date from which subsidy is payable under the Housing, etc., Act, 1923.
Section 2, which empowers local authorities to make grants to private persons, has effect from the 26th April last, and houses which are included in schemes approved by me since that date are eligible for the subsidy, provided they comply with the conditions laid down and were not commenced prior to the date of approval of the scheme.
I have also undertaken, where assurances have been given by or on behalf of local authorities, on the faith of which builders have proceeded with building, in anticipation of the approval of a scheme for assisting private enterprise, to pay the equivalent of the Government grant under the Act in respect of houses which would otherwise be eligible for assistance.
The question of the date from which subsidy should be payable was fully discussed when the Bill was before the Standing Committee of the House, and I cannot undertake to take any steps to secure an amendment of the law.