HC Deb 15 November 1939 vol 353 cc718-9
79. Mr. T. Smith

asked the Minister of Health whether he is in a position to make a statement with regard to the application of the Castleford Urban District Council for permission to proceed with the erection of 104 houses on the Airedale estate; and whether he is aware that these houses are urgently required for families living in houses in respect of which orders under the Housing Acts are operative?

Miss Horsbrugh

As the hon. Member will be aware, my right hon. Friend has had to advise local authorities, for the present, not to take further steps in connection with slum clearance orders which have not reached the stage of local inquiry, to postpone for the time being the. commencement of new houses, and to concentrate on the completion of houses which have reached an advanced stage of construction. In these circumstances, my right hon. Friend regrets that he cannot, at the moment, accede to the application to which the hon. Member refers. I can assure him, however, that my right hon. Friend is anxious that as many houses as possible should be built and that, with that object in view, the housing position is under close and continuous review in relation to the demand on building materials. I am glad to say that at the present time work is still proceeding on more than 30.000 of the houses which were under construction by local authorities when the war began.

Mr. Smith

Will the Ministry of Health reconsider their decision in this case in view of the fact that the district is very congested and that if no new houses are built the people will be compelled to live in very bad houses for the duration of the war?

Miss Horsbrugh

I can assure the hon. Member that this case is being looked into. From my answer he will realise the very great difficulties which exist at the present time, but the question is being kept under review in order that we may press on with houses whenever possible.