HC Deb 31 July 1939 vol 350 cc1934-5
58. Mr. T. Williams

asked the Minister of Agriculture whether he will consult with the Minister of Health in regard to the housing needs of agricultural labourers; and, in particular, whether any specific proposals have been considered with regard to the number of houses required and the maximum rents that should be charged?

Sir W. Womersley

My right hon. Friend is in frequent consultation with my right hon. Friend the Minister of Health on the administration of the Housing (Financial Provisions) Act, which provides special facilities for the building of houses for the agricultural population. The question of the needs of individual areas is kept under review but no special returns have been called for in order to arrive at any total figure of the demand for the whole country, or of the rents charged by local authorities. There is, however, no reason to suppose that local authorities are fixing rents which are beyond the capacity of agricultural workers to pay. As regards houses provided by persons other than local authorities, with financial assistance from the Exchequer, the rent must not exceed the weekly sum fixed by the agricultural wages committees as the value at which the benefit or advantage of a cottage is to be reckoned as a payment of wages in lieu of payment of the statutory minimum rate of wages.

Mr. Williams

As housing conditions are as important at least as wages to agricultural workers, will the Minister call the attention of his right hon. Friend to the Housing Act, 1931, since few houses have been erected by local authorities since1931 and let to agricultural labourers?

Sir W. Womersley

I will convey that message to my right hon. Friend.

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