The numbers of dwellings included in applications made for assistance under the Housing (Rural Workers) Act, 1926, up to the end of September last were, in the County of Wilts 81, and in the County of Devon 232. The numbers of dwellings in respect of which assistance had been promised up to the same date were 21 and 97 respectively, and the numbers still under consideration were 22 and 71 respectively.
Evidently they are people specially interested in the subject and have taken some trouble about it.
§ 32. Mr. HURD
asked the Minister of Health if he is aware that many agricultural workers' cottages are in urgent need of reconditioning through the means provided by the Housing (Rural Workers) Act, 1926; and whether he will take means to ascertain from the owners of such cottages why they are refraining from making applications to county councils under the Act?
I am afraid that it would not be practicable for me to adopt my hon. Friend's suggestion. As, however, it seemed clear to me that in many cases the opportunities afforded by the Act were not fully realised, I have issued circulars to local authorities 1898 making certain suggestions designed to secure greater publicity and greater efficiency in administration. The number of dwellings included in applications made during the quarter ended 30th September, 1928, and the number of dwellings in respect of which grants or loans were made corresponding figures for the preceding quarter.
§ Mr. HURD
Is it within my right hon. Friend's knowledge that owners of cottages which are ripe for reconditioning have been given to understand that it is no good putting in applications, and, that being so, could he make some inquiries of the Central Landowners' Association, or otherwise, to ascertain the causes that are impeding these cottages from coming under reconditioning?
No case of that kind has come to my personal knowledge, but if my hon. Friend will give me particulars, I shall be glad to look into the question.
§ 54. Mr. T. WILLIAMS
asked the Minister of Health how many houses have been reconditioned in rural areas since the passing of the Housing (Rural Workers) Act?
Up to the 30th September last grants have been promised under the Housing (Rural Workers) Act, in respect of 1,022 houses, the total amount of grants involved being £74,036. In addition loans amounting to £4,008 have been promised. Work had been completed at the 30th September on 343 houses and was in progress on 518 other houses.
§ Mr. WILLIAMS
Can the right hon. Gentleman give an idea how many centuries it would take on this basis to recondition the whole of the rural houses?
The rate of progress is continually increasing, and as I have already remarked in answer to another question, it has increased by 50 per cent. in the last quarter.