HC Deb 21 July 1924 vol 176 cc1021-7

That it shall be the duty of the Minister to carry out a general survey of housing needs in order to ascertain the exact requirements of the local authorities as to the provision of new houses and the replacement of unfit houses. That the survey shall ascertain the available local supplies of labour and materials and shall define the standard of unfit houses.—[Mr. E. Brown.]

Brought up, and read the First time.


I beg to move, "That the Clause be read a Second time."

I suggest to the Committee that this is one of the most important, subjects discussed in the course of this Debate. I give four reasons for my proposal. First, no reliable data now exist as to the number of new houses required, or as to the localities in which they are required. Second, the Report of the National House Building Committee appointed by the Minister recommends such a survey. Third, all housing reformers demand it. Fourth and last—a, very important reason from the point of view of county Members—the result of such a survey and the exact knowledge gained by it must have a great effect, upon the distribution of labour and materials as between the great cities or the one hand and the rural areas on the other. With regard to the first point I need not do more than quote from the speech delivered by the Minister of Health during the Debate of 3rd June on the Financial Resolution. In that Debate the Minister said: In comparing that [referring to the last Act] with what we might have expected, it is well to consider for a moment what the annual requirements of these millions families who depend for housing accommodation on houses to let amount to in this country. I do not want to lay down any dogmatic figures. There are no reliable data with which one can defend any figure that is controverted, but I think that those who understand the problem will be inclined to agree that, taking into account the loss, arising from the depreciation of property and the growth of population, something like 100,000 new houses would be required annually to prevent the housing shortage from increasing."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 3rd June, 1924; cols. 1101–2; Vol. 174.] I suggest that that speech alone justifies this new Clause. It is quite an extraordinary thing to come to this House with a Bill purporting to provide for the erection of 2,500,000 houses, in 15 years, at an expenditure of £1,400,000,000, and to admit, when proposing the Financial Resolution on which to base the Bill, that nobody knows reliably where the houses are wanted or in what quantities. I suggest that that argument alone is sufficient justification for the Clause I am moving. Let me go a little further. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear!"] If the hon. Members on the Labour Benches desire to delay their Bill, I can go a good deal further, for this subject is one which would justify a Debate for three or four hours. I want to call their attention, if they will give it to me for a moment and thus facilitate the passing of the Minister's Bill, to pages 24 and 25 of the Report of the National House Building Committee, where it says: Whilst recording its opinions on this point, the Committee desires to add that a general survey, showing, as far as possible, the housing proposals of each district, would be of great assistance to the Statutory Committee. Such a survey would enable this Committee to compile a corresponding survey of the labour supply and the materials supply both available and needed in the various localities. In connection with the fourth point, I had, on the same page, page 24, of the same Report: The Committee has gone very carefully into this question. The matter is one which presents many difficulties. It is essential, in the first place, that the supply of labour and the supply of materials should harmonise in any particular district and that both these elements should be present in the right proportions to cope with the housing need, of that district. I suggest that that meets the point to which I alluded in my first sentence that, unless we know where the houses are needed, it will be extraordinarily difficult for the small urban districts and the rural districts to get the available labour and material supplies in the requisite quantities. The other point is that housing reformers demand it. Hon. Members above the Gangway will have given great consideration to the Conference of the National Housing and Town Planning Association at Buxton in February, or, if they have not, I suggest

that they might do so now. They will find that one of the Resolutions passed by that very able association of housing reformers demands exactly what is down in this Clause, namely, a new housing survey. The last point I wish to make is this, that the estimates now in the possession of the Ministry of Health vary in the most extraordinary manner. I will make one comparison only, a comparison between the estimate presented to the Local Government Board in 1918 and that presented to the Ministry of Health in 1919, to show how varied are the ideas in the districts themselves as to the number of houses required.

I will take two or three sample figures, first from rural areas and then from urban areas. In 1918, Bedfordshire suggested to the Local Government Board that they required 2.206 new cottages; a year afterwards they suggested to the Ministry of Health that they required 4,097 cottages. In Buckinghamshire it was suggested in 1918 that 1,652 cottages were wanted in the rural areas, and in 1919 it was suggested that 3,357 were wanted. I will take one other only of the 20 I have down here. I will take my native county of Devon. In 1918 the Councils in Devonshire suggested to the Local Government Board that they would require 5,500 new houses, and in 1919, for reasons which I could state, but I will not detain the Committee, they suggested that they wanted 11,800. These simple figures of all the rural areas will convince the Committee, as the Minister said himself in his speech, that there is no reliable data at all. I will take two industrial districts—Durham and Warwickshire. In 1918 the councils of Durham suggested that they required 17,805 houses, and in 1919 they required 47,950. Warwickshire in 1918 suggested they required 19,147 houses, and in 1919, 72,812. I suggest that nothing more is required from me to prove the need for this new Clause.

Question put, "That the Clause be read a Second time."

The Committee divided Ayes, 102; Noes, 257

Division No. 176.] AYES. [10.27 p.m.
Alstead, R. Bowyer, Capt. G. E. W. Cobb, Sir Cyril
Aske. Sir Robert William Bramsdon, Sir Thomas Collins, Patrick (Walsall)
Barrie, Sir Charles Coupar (Banff) Briant, Frank Cowan, Sir Wm. Henry (Islington, N.)
Berry, Sir George Brunner, Sir J. Darbishire, C. W.
Birkett, W. N. Buckingham, Sir H. Dickie, Captain J. P.
Black, J. W. Burnle Major J. (Bootle) Dodos, S. R.
Bonwick, A. Calne, Gordon Hall Dudgeon Major C. R.
Dunn, J. Freeman Kedward, R. M. Ramage, Captain Cecil Beresford
Emlyn-Jones, J. E. (Dorset, N.) Kenyon, Barnet Rankin, James S.
Falconer, J. Laverack, F. J. Rathbone, Hugh R.
Falls, Major Sir Bertram Godfray Lessing, E. Rea, w. Russell
Ferguson, H. Linfield, F. C. Rees, Sir Beddoe
Franklin, L. B. Livingstone, A. M. Rees, Capt. J. T. (Devon, Barnstaple)
Fremantle, Lieut.-Colonel Francis E. Loverseed, J. F. Remer, J. R.
George, Major G. L. (Pembroke) McCrae, Sir George Robinson, S. W. (Essex, Chelmsford)
Gorman, William Macnamara, Rt. Hon. Dr. T. J. Samuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham)
Grigg, Lieut.-Col. Sir Edward W. M. Macpherson, Rt. Hon. James I. Sinclair, Major Sir A. (Caithness)
Guest, Capt. Hn.F.E,(Gloucstr.,Stroud) Maden, H. Spero, Dr. G. E.
Hall, Lieut.-Col Sir F. (Dulwich) Martin, F. (Aberdeen & Kinc'dine, E.) Starmer, Sir Charles
Hamilton, Sir R. (Orkney & Shetland) Masterman, Rt. Hon. C. F. G. Stewart, Maj. R. S. (Stockton-on-Tees)
Harmsworth, Hon. E. C. (Kent) Meyler, Lieut.-Colonel H. M. Stranger, Innes Harold
Harris, John (Hackney, North) Millar, J. D. Sueter, Roar-Admiral Murray Fraser
Harris, Percy A. Mitchell,R.M.(Perth & Kinross, Perth) Sunlight, J.
Hill-Wood, Major Sir Samuel Mitchell, Sir W. Lane (Streatham) Terrington, Lady
Hindle, F. Morris, R. H. Thompson, Luke (Sunderland)
Hogbin, Henry Cairns Moulton, Major Fletcher Thornton, Maxwell R.
Hood, Sir Joseph Murrell, Frank Waddington, R.
Hore-Belisha, Major Leslie Nield, Rt. Hon. Sir Herbert Williams, Col. P. (Middlesbrough, E.)
Howard, Hon. G. (Bedford, Luton) Oliver, P. M. (Manchester, Blackley) Wise, Sir Fredric
Jenkins, W. A. (Brecon and Radnor) Owen, Major G. Wood, Sir H. K. (Woolwich, West)
Johnstone, Harcourt (Willesden, East) Pattinson, S. (Horncastle) Wood, Major M. M. (Aberdeen, C.)
Jones, C. Sydney (Liverpool, W.Derby) Phillipps, Vivian Woodwark, Lieut.-Colonel G. G.
Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth) Pringle, W. M. R.
Jones, Rt. Hon. Leif (Camborne) Raffan, P. W. TELLERS FOR THE AYES.
Kay, Sir R. Newbald Raffety, F. W. Mr. Ernest Brown and Mr.
Trevelyan Thomson.
Adamson, Rt. Hon. William Davies, Maj. Geo. F. (Somerset, Yeovil) Henderson, T. (Glasgow)
Adamson, W. M. (Staff., Cannock) Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton) Henderson, W. W.(Middlesex, Enfield)
Agg-Gardner, Rt. Hon. Sir James T Davison, J. E. (Smethwick) Hennessy, Major J. R. G.
Alden, Percy Dawson, Sir Philip Herbert, Dennis (Hertford, Watford)
Alexander, A. V. (Sheffield, Hillsbro') Deans, Richard Storry Hillary, A. E.
Allen, Lieut.-Col. Sir William James Dickson, T. Hirst, G. H.
Amery, Rt. Hon. Leopold C. M. S. Doyle, Sir N. Grattan Hodges, Frank
Atholl, Duchess of Dukes, C. Hoffman, P. C.
Ayles, W. H. Duncan, C. Hogg, Rt. Hon. Sir D. (St. Marylebone)
Baker, Walter Eden, Captain Anthony Horlick, Lieut.-Colonel J. N.
Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley Edmondson, Major A. J. Howard, Hn. D.(Cumberland, Northrn.)
Balfour, George (Hampstead) Edwards, C. (Monmouth, Bedwellty) Hudson, J. H.
Banton, G. Egan, W. H. Inskip, Sir Thomas Walker H.
Barker, G. (Monmouth, Abertillery) Elliot, Walter E. Isaacs, G. A.
Barnett, Major Richard W. Elveden, Viscount Jackson, Lieut.-Colonel Hon. F. S.
Barnston, Major Sir Harry England, Colonel A. Jackson, R. F. (Ipswich)
Batey, Joseph Eyres-Monsell, Com. Rt. Hon. B. M Jenkins, W. (Glamorgan, Neath)
Beamish, Captain T. P. H Finney, V. H. Jephcott, A. R.
Beckett, Sir Gervase FitzRoy, Captain Rt. Hon. Edward A. Jewson, Dorothea
Bellairs, Commander Carlyon W. Forestier-Walker, L. John, William (Rhondda, West)
Betterton, Henry B. Gardner, B. W. (West Ham, Upton) Johnston, Thomas (Stirling)
Blundell, F. N. Gardner, J. P. (Hammersmith, North) Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)
Bondfield, Margaret Gates, Percy Jones, T. I. Mardy (Pontypridd)
Bourne, Robert Croft Gavan-Duffy, Thomas Jowett, Rt. Hon. F. W. (Bradford, E.)
Bowerman, Rt. Hon. Charles W. Gibbins, Joseph Joynson-Hicks, Rt. Hon. Sir William
Brass, Captain W. Gillett, George M. Kindersley, Major G. M.
Brown, James (Ayr and Bute) Gosling, Harry King, Captain Henry Douglas
Buckle, J. Gould, Frederick (Somerset, Frome) Kirkwood, D.
Burman, J. B. Graham, D. M. (Lanark, Hamilton) Lamb, J. O.
Burney, Lieut.-Com. Charles D. Graham, W. (Edinburgh, Central) Lane-Fox, George R.
Butt, Sir Alfred Greene, W. P. Crawford Lansbury, George
Buxton, Rt. Hon. Noel Greenall, T. Law, A.
Cape, Thomas Greenwood, A. (Nelson and Colne) Lawrence, Susan (East Ham, North)
Cassels, J. D. Grenfell, D. R. (Glamorgan) Lawson, John James
Cautley, Sir Henry S. Grenfell, Edward C. (City of London) Leach, W.
Cayzer, Sir C. (Chester, City) Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool) Lloyd, Cyril E. (Dudley)
Chadwick, Sir Robert Burton Groves, T. Lowth, T.
Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. N. (Ladywood) Grundy, T. W. Lumley, L. R.
Chapman, Sir S. Guest, J. (York, Hemsworth) Lunn, William
Chapple, Dr. William A. Gwynne, Rupert S. McEntee, V. L.
Charleton, H. C. Hacking, Captain Douglas H. Mackinder, W.
Church, Major A. G. Hail, G. H. (Merthyr Tydvil) McLean, Major A.
Clarke, A. Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry Maclean, Neil (Glasgow, Govan)
Clarry. Reginald George Hardie, George D. Maitland, Sir Arthur D. Steel
Clayton, G. C. Harland, A. Makins, Brigadier-General E.
Climie, R. Harvey,C.M.B.(Aberd'n & Kincardne) March, S.
Cluse, W. S. Hastings, Sir Patrick Marley, James
Cope, Major William Hastings, Somerville (Reading) Marriott, Sir J. A. R.
Crittall, V. G. Haycock, A. W. Martin, W. H. (Dumbarton)
Crooke, J. Smedley (Deritend) Hayday, Arthur Maxton, James
Davidson, Major-General Sir J. H. Hayes, John Henry Meller, R. J.
Davies, Ellis (Denbigh, Denbigh) Henderson, A. (Cardiff, South) Middleton, G.
Milne, J. S. Wardlaw Ropner, Major L. Wallhead, Richard C.
Mitchell, W. F. (Saffron Walden) Roundell, Colonel R. F. Ward. Lt.-Col. A.L.(Kingston-on-Hull)
Montague, Frederick Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth) Warrender, Sir Victor
Morel, E. D. Sandeman, A. Stewart Watson, Sir F. (Pudsey and Otley)
Morrison, Herbert (Hackney, South) Sassoon, Sir Philip Albert Gustave D. Watson, W. M. (Dunfermline)
Morrison, R. C. (Tottenham, N.) Savery, S. S. Watts-Morgan, Lt.-Col. D. (Rhondda)
Muir, John W. Scrymgeour, E. Webb, Rt. Hon. Sidney
Murray, Robert Scurr, John Wells, S. R.
Nall, Lieut.-Colonel Sir Joseph Sexton, James Welsh, J. C.
Naylor, T. E. Shaw, Rt. Hon. Thomas (Preston) Weston, John Wakefield
Newman, Sir R. H. S. D. L. (Exeter) Shepperson, E. W. Westwood, J.
Nichol, Robert Sherwood, George Henry Wheatley, Rt. Hon. J.
O'Grady, Captain James Short, Alfred (Wednesbury) Wheler, Lieut-Col. Granville C. H.
Oliver, George Harold Smillie, Robert Whiteley, W.
Oman, Sir Charles William C. Smith, Ben (Bermondsey, Rotherhithe) Wignall, James
Ormsby-Gore, Hon. William Smith, T. (Pontefract) Williams, David (Swansea, E.)
Paling, w. Smith, W. R. (Norwich) Williams, Dr. J. H. (Llanelly)
Palmer, E. T. Smith-Carington, Neville W. Williams, Lt.-Col. T.S.B. (Kenningtn.)
Parkinson, John Allen (Wigan) Snell, Harry Williams, Maj. A. S. (Kent,Sevenoaks)
Pease, William Edwin Somerville, A. A. (Windsor) Williams, T. (York, Don Valley)
Percy, Lord Eustace (Hastings) Spence, R. Wilson, C. H. (Sheffield, Attercliffe)
Perkins, Colonel E. K. Spencer, George A. (Broxtowe) Wilson, Col. M. J. (Richmond)
Perring, William George Steel, Samuel Strang Wilson, R. J. (Jarrow)
Perry, S. F. Stephen, Campbell Windsor, Walter
Potts, John S. Stewart, J. (St. Rollox) Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George
Raynes, W. R. Stuart, Hon. J. (Moray and Nairn) Winterton, Rt Hon. Earl
Reid, D. D. (County Down) Sullivan, J. Wolmer, Viscount
Richards, R. Thurtle, E. Wood, Major Rt. Hon. Edward F. L.
Richardson, Lt.-Col. Sir P. (Chertsey) Tinker, John Joseph Wright, W.
Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring) Trevelyan, Rt. Hon. C. P. Yerburgh, Major Robert D. T.
Ritson, J. Turner, Ben Young, Andrew (Glasgow, Partick)
Roberts, Rt. Hon. F.O.(W. Bromwich) Turner-Samuels, M.
Robertson, J. (Lanark, Bothwell) Varley, Frank B. TELLERS FOR THE NOES.
Robinson, Sir T. (Lanes., Stretford) Viant, S. P. Mr. Warne and Mr. Frederick Hall.
Romeril, H. G.

The next Amendment selected is that standing in the name of the hon. Member for West Fulham (Sir Cyril Cobb).


There is a very important issue raised by the new Clause (Compulsory hiring of vacant houses) standing in the name of the hon. Member for Harrow (Mr. Mosley).


The Amendment standing in the name of the hon. Member for Harrow is out of Order.