63. Commander WILLIAMS
asked the Minister of Health how many working days were lost in the housing schemes, and the drainage in connection with these schemes, under the Acts of 1923 and 1924, respectively, through men leaving work during the general strike in the Torquay area?
§ Sir K. WOOD
The Torquay Town Council inform me that there was no 1881 stoppage on houses being erected for the council under the 1924 Act during the general strike, but that in most cases building on houses being erected by private enterprise under the 1923 Act was stopped. It is not possible to give an exact figure as to the number of man-days lost, but it appears that most builders had men idle for periods varying from six to 16 days.
Does my hon. Friend know why stoppages have occurred on what is generally known as the Chamberlain scheme, but not on the Wheatley scheme?
§ Mr. T. WILLIAMS
If any stoppage did take place, as indicated in the reply, was it not due to the fact that the houses erected under the 1924 Housing Act were for working-class people, while the others were for those who never did any work?
§ Sir K. WOOD
No, Sir; I think the hon. Gentleman is under a complete mis-apprehension. This is the first time I have heard that distinction drawn, and, as far as I know, there is no necessity for it.
§ Mr. CLYNES
Is it not the case that, at the beginning of the general strike, the Trades Union Congress leaders expressly appealed to men working on housing schemes not to cease work?
§ Commander WILLIAMS
Is not my hon. Friend also aware that the trade unions in this particular instance have not only stopped the building of housing, but have also fined some of their members for doing work on housing?
§ Mr. KIRKWOOD
Arising from the Parliamentary Secretary's previous reply, I would like to put it to him if it is not the case that those who never work at all, and who should be working, live in the very best houses in this country?