§ 34. Sir JOSEPH NALL
asked the Minister of Health if he can make any further statement regarding future policy as to the housing subsidies?
§ The MINISTER of HEALTH (Mr. Neville Chamberlain)
It is the general policy of the Government to bring to an end the subsidies under the Acts of 1923 and 1924 as soon as practicable, but it is resognised that this can only be done gradually and with sufficient notice to enable local authorities and those engaged in the building industry to accommodate themselves to the position, in order to avoid breaking the continuity of house production. The statutory review under the Act of 1924 falls to be made after the 1st October next, and I cannot at the present time say what reduction of subsidies, if any, may be made by Order under that Act. Any such Order, however, must be confirmed by Resolution of this House before becoming operative. In the meantime, I have decided that houses completed by the 1st October, 1927, will be eligible for the present rate of subsidy.
§ Sir J. NALL
May I ask what advice my right hon. Friend proposes to give to authorities who are now considering upon what basis they should build houses after the 1st October?
§ Sir J. NALL
Are we to understand that schemes for houses beginning after October should be on the basis of no subsidy?
§ Mr. CHAMBERLAIN
No, Sir. I think my hon. Friend has not quite understood the answer, and that when he sees it in print he will get a better idea of it. It deals with houses completed—not houses begun—in October, 1927, not October, 1926.
§ Captain WEDGWOOD BENN
Does that mean that contracts already let with the approval of the Ministry, say in the case of a town council, will be eligible for the subsidy at the present rate?
§ Sir J. NALL
May I ask, in order to clear up the misunderstanding which I think has been created, whether the proposal is that the subsidy will now apply till October, 1927?
§ Mr. PETHICK-LAWRENCE
Are we to understand that the Minister thinks the shortage of houses is really seriously overtaken now?
§ Mr. MACINTYRE
(by Private Notice) asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether he is now able to make any statement as to the possible revision of the housing subsidies for Scotland under the Act of 1924?
§ The SECRETARY of STATE for SCOTLAND (Sir John Gilmour)
Yes, Sir. The general policy of the Government with regard to Scotland is similar to that announced by my right hon. Friend in the case of England. The Government has, however, decided that, in view of the present exceptional position in Scotland, all houses completed before 1st October, 1928, shall rank for the existing subsidy.