§ 20. Mr. THURTLE
asked the Minister of Health if he is aware that both the Housing Committee of the London County Council and the Manchester Corporation have recently reported that they have not discovered any reduction in prices tendered for the building of houses following the publication of his Order giving notice of certain reductions in the housing subsidy; if he has any evidence to show that the reduction in tender prices which he anticipated has taken place; and, if not, will he, in view of the urgent need for houses which still exists, reconsider the question of reducing the subsidy?
According to the monthly returns furnished to my Department by local authorities, no contracts for the erection of subsidy houses under the Housing Acts of 1923 and 1924 have been let by the London County Council since the date of the publication of the Order reducing the housing subsidy, and it is not therefore possible for me to make a comparison in the case of this authority. As regards Manchester, I find that prices of houses included in contracts let in January last were 6d. per superficial foot less for non-parlour and 3d. per superficial foot less for parlour type houses than prices obtained for houses in October last.
As regards the country generally, the average prices of non-parlour houses in contracts let by local authorities during the quarter ended March last was £425 as compared with £448 for the quarter ended December, 1926, and £443 for the quarter ended September, 1926. It will be seen that these figures afford no ground for reconsidering the decision to reduce the subsidy.
§ Mr. HARRIS
Is it not a fact that the London County Council contracts are based on the cost, plus percentage?
I think the hon. Member could not have heard what I 1750 said. The London County Council have not let any contracts.
§ Mr. HARRIS
But the county council is not doing its work on the contract basis, but on cost, plus percentage.
§ Mr. W. THORNE
Will the right hon. Gentleman say whether the cubic space per room is exactly the same?