§ 94. Mr. GROVES
asked the Minister of Health whether he is aware that within the county borough of West Ham the number of private families occupying one room is 4,691, or 6.8 per cent. of the population, representing 9,469 persons, and of these one is a family of 11 person,' one is a family of nine persons, one is a family of eight persons, nine are families of seven persons, 30 are families of six persons, 99 are families of five persons, 306 are families of four persons, and 990 are families of three persons; and whether he will speedily deal with such conditions?
§ Sir K. WOOD
My right hon. Friend is aware of these figures which are contained in the Census of 1921. The only 1115 practical way of dealing with such conditions is the building of more houses, and he hopes that he will have the support of the hon. Member in encouraging all methods which will expedite the building programme.
§ Mr. GROVES
Is the hon. Gentleman aware that in West Ham we can do nothing to abate this overcrowding except by putting these people into the workhouse, as we have no ground to build upon, and financially we cannot bear the strain of building outside. His Department should take cognisance of this fact. [HON. MEMBERS: "Speech!"]
§ 95. Mr. GROVES
asked the Minister of Health if he is aware that the restriction of services in the sanitary departments during the War has left the various local authorities with an accumulation of structural defects and impairment of domestic amenities which, according to the number of sanitary inspectors afforded by local authorities and the conditions laid down by the Public Health Act, 1875, will take many years to overcome; whether he is informed of the great expenditure of time and money by and through the local authorities in being compelled to serve upon each individual owner of property, or rack-renter, a separate notice, requiring attention to defects in the property; and whether, in view of the published statements of the chief medical officer of the county borough of West Ham that over 75 per cent. of the working-class dwellings inspected during the years 1921, 1922, 1923 and 1924 were found to be not in all respects reasonably fit for human habitation, he will consider the introduction of legislation to authorise local authorities to at once issue general public notices directing attention to the insanitary state of dwellings, and calling upon all owners to immediately put the necessary repair work in hand, and that such public notice shall be considered to have taken the place of the usual individual notices, and that, failing compliance by any owner six months after the date of publication, the council will institute proceedings against such owners, and, in addition, instruct all tenants of such property to utilise Section 5 of the Rent and Mortgage Interest Restriction Act, 1923, which, on production of the certificate of the local sanitary authority at court, 1116 absolves tenants from the payment of any increase of rent permitted under paragraphs (c) or (d) of sub-section (1) of Section 2 of the Rent Act?
§ Sir K. WOOD
My right hon. Friend is aware that there are in many cases arrears of repairs which resulted from war conditions, and have not yet been overtaken, but he does not consider that the process would be expedited by the suggestion made in the question or that it is possible to deal with specific defects by means of general public notices. My right hon. Friend has no reason to think that tenants generally are not aware of the provisions of Section 5 of the Rent and Mortgage Interest Restriction Act, 1923.
§ Mr. GROVES
Is the hon. Gentleman aware that, according to the present law, it will take us in West Ham 20 years to overtake the repairs? If the hon. Gentleman would not think I was directing my attack upon his Department, I would like to raise this specific case on the Motion for the Adjournment at a convenient date.