HC Deb 01 February 1934 vol 285 cc530-2
44. Major NATHAN

asked the Minister of Health if he will state the number, average cost per house, and average cost per superficial foot, respectively, of A-type non-parlour houses (excluding small houses erected for aged persons under the Housing Act, 1930, and non-parlour flats) included in direct labour schemes, and in contracts let by local authorities in England and Wales, during the months of December, 1932, November, 1933, and December, 1933, respectively?


Since the answer involves a tabular statement, I will, with the hon. Member's permission, circulate it in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Following is the answer:

The following statement shows the particulars desired by the hon. Member so far as direct labour schemes and contracts let by local authorities in England and Wales other than the London County Council are concerned.

Month. Number of houses of type indicated. Average cost per house.* Average cost per superficial foot.
£ s. d.
Dec., 1932 4,228 296 8
Nov., 1933 2,564 301 8
Dec., 1933 1,979 298 8
* Including the cost of paths, drains and fences, but excluding the cost of land, roads, sewers and architects' fees.

asked the Minister of Health the latest average price of an unsubsidised three-bedroomed parlour house, respectively, in London, in the provinces, and in rural areas; and the economic rental in each case?


The total cost of such a house as my hon. Friend describes should not exceed £450 near London or £420 in provincial districts, whether urban or rural. The economic rental, excluding rates, of such houses depends upon the actual cost, including the cost of borrowing, but on the basis of a loan at 3½ per cent. for 60 years, should be approximately 9s. and 8s. 7d. per week respectively.


As the right hon. Gentleman said that the prices do not exceed these sums—I asked for the average price—may we take it, therefore, that the average price is lower than the prices which he has given?


Yes, I imagine that would be so.


asked the Minister of Health what proportion of the cost of a house is due to building labour; whether he is in communication with the Minister of Labour on the subject of rates of wages; and whether he will consult those concerned in the building industry with a view to avoiding, so far as justice lies, any increase in the cost of house-building for the working classes?


I am advised that approximately 40 per cent. of the building cost may be taken to be the proportion spent in labour on the site. Expenditure on land, roads, sewers and fees has not been taken into account in this calculation. Building costs are constantly under the consideration of a committee appointed by the President of the Board of Trade and myself which includes representatives of the building industry. As regards rates of wages, I would refer my hon. Friend to the reply already given by the Minister of Labour.


Is it not the case that the costs being inquired into by the committee do not include the cost of wages; and will the right hon. Gentleman answer the last part of the question as to whether he will consult the building industry on the subject of wages?


Wages in the first place are matters for the Ministry of Labour, and, whatever aspect requires to be taken into consideration, I can assure my hon. Friend that the necessary consultation will take place.


Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that one of his predecessors in office stated in this House that two-thirds of the rent of a house went in paying interest on loans, and will he turn his attention to that aspect of the case before touching wages?