38. Mr. FOOT MITCHELL
asked the Minister of Agriculture whether, according to the view of his Department, the erection of houses for agricultural labourers in the rural districts is being substantially met?
§ The PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY to the MINISTRY of HEALTH (Sir Kingsley Wood)
I have been asked to reply. My right hon. Friend is aware that there is still a shortage of housing accommodation in agricultural districts, in common with the rest of the country, and the problem is receiving his serious and continued attention. I may mention that since 1919 some 75,000 houses have been erected in rural districts under the Housing Acts, and during the past two and a half years over 53,000 by private enterprise without the aid of subsidy. My right hon. Friend anticipates that increasing advantage will be taken of the special Exchequer subsidy provided by the Housing Acts for the erection of houses in agricultural parishes, and he has hopes 2002 that alternative methods of house construction will contribute something towards the housing needs of these parishes.
§ Mr. T. WILLIAMS
Is the hon. Gentleman not aware that the 75,000 to which he has referred were largely erected for miners in new mining districts, and that the 53,000 built by private enterprise were largely erected for sale, and that they in no way serve the needs of the agriculturists in the various agricultural areas?
§ Mr. PALING
Is it not a fact that, in answer to a question in this House last week, the Minister gave the figures as to the number of houses built in districts of this character, and that they were very small, and does the right hon. Gentleman propose to do anything to remedy that?
§ Sir K. WOOD
I have no knowledge as to the question to which the hon. Member refers, but, so far as the number of houses erected are concerned, the figures that I have given are perfectly correct. As the hon. Gentleman knows, further efforts are being made to assist in housing in these particular areas, and I know we can rely upon his support in this connection.
§ Sir R. HAMILTON
Can the hon. Gentleman not give any idea as to the proportion of these 75,000 houses that were built for agricultural labourers?
§ Sir K. WOOD
No. If the hon. Baronet will put down a question, I will endeavour to ascertain the figures.