HC Deb 24 June 1937 vol 325 cc1366-7
43. Mr. Kirby

asked the Minister of Health whether he is aware that, in spite of the fact that Liverpool Corporation have built over 30,000 houses in Liverpool since the War, tens of thousands of registered applicants still share housing accommodation with other families, and that few of these have any hope of proper accommodation except in the case of those now occupying condemned property or living in clearance areas; can he cause a special inquiry to be made into housing requirements in Liverpool with a view to satisfying the needs of present applicants and those young people contemplating marriage; and can he expedite the building of small flats to accommodate old age pensioners, spinsters, and others with very limited incomes?

Mr. Bernays

I am aware of the housing situation in Liverpool. The corporation's building proposals are not limited to houses required for slum clearance, though the magnitude and urgency of this problem will in the opinion of my right hon. Friend make it necessary for them to continue to concentrate their main efforts on this problem for the present. My right hon. Friend is satisfied that the corporation are operating as rapidly as the difficulties of the situation and the available resources of the building industry permit, and that provision is being made for the building of small flats ref erred to by the hon. Member.

Mr. Kirby

Do the Parliamentary Secretary and the Minister realise the large demand for fiats such as are mentioned in the last part of my question; do they appreciate the fact that between 80,000 and 90,000 families have registered for tenancies of corporation houses, and that only some 35,000 have yet been accommodated, so that some 50,000 or 60,000 applicants are still unsatisfied; and in these circumstances cannot they see their way to set up a commission of inquiry such as is suggested in the question?

Mr. Bernays

I appreciate the point that the hon. Member has raised. The General Purposes and Technical Sub-Committee of the Central Housing Committee made inquiries into this subject, and consulted 27 local authorities; and, as a result of their inquiries, they came to the conclusion that there was little to justify any proposal to divert local authorities' housing activities from the urgent tasks of slum clearance and the abatement of overcrowding.