§ 28. Mr. Batey
asked the Minister of Labour whether he is aware that the North Eastern Housing Association, who have arranged to build 32 houses at Tow Law, county Durham, have notified the urban district council that the rents of the pro- 2155 posed houses will be on the average 2s. 7d. per week more than houses previously built; and will immediate steps be taken to prevent so large an increase?
§ Mr. E. Brown
The answer to the first part of the question is in the affirmative. The question of the amount of rent charged is a matter for settlement by the local authority in consultation with the Housing Association.
§ Mr. Batey
Did not the Minister of Labour state when this Housing Association was set up that the object was to build houses at cheap rents in the distressed areas? Here we have people who lived in houses which have been pulled down, and paid 5s. a week, and in these houses they will have to pay 10s. to 11s. a week. How can it be done?
§ Mr. Brown
The answer is that the purpose for which the Housing Association was set up is being fulfilled. I understand, on inquiry, that the rents would compare favourably with the rents of houses erected by local authorities and the Association in other parts of the county if the rents of all the houses built by the Tow Law Urban District Council were equated.
§ Mr. Shinwell
Was not an assurance given when this Association was set up, with the consent of the Government, that rents would not be above the existing level of rents?