HC Deb 25 February 1942 vol 378 cc183-4
18 and 19. Mr. Wakefield

asked the Minister of Aircraft Production (1) whether he is aware of the hindrance to war production being caused in a district, of which he has been informed, due to inadequate housing conditions for workers and their families; and what steps he is proposing to take to improve this unsatisfactory state of affairs;

(2) whether he is aware that workers in a certain district, of which he has been informed, are being asked to pay a rent of 17s. 6d. a week for a four-roomed bungalow with concrete floors, breeze-block partitioning, unplastered walls, exposed wiring, no guttering with resultant dampness; and what steps is he taking to improve these living conditions and to arrange for a reduction in rent?

Colonel Llewellin

I am aware of the housing situation in the district to which my hon. Friend refers. I am informed that both in numbers and in type the houses which have been and are being constructed are not unsatisfactory having regard to war conditions. I am, however, arranging with my Noble Friend the Minister of Works and Buildings to have the houses inspected with a view to remedying any dampness which may exist. As regards the rent, recent discussions with representatives of the tenants and prospective tenants have resulted in an agreement, satisfactory to both sides, to reduce the rent to 16s. a week inclusive.

Mr. Wakefield

While thanking the Minister for his prompt action in this matter, may I ask whether he will cause inquiries to be made as to the poor construction of these buildings, which results in dampness, and into the fact that there are very high charges for electricity and other utilities, and that these families will have to live in very unsatisfactory conditions?

Colonel Llewellin

I do not know about the high charges for electricity, which is rather a matter for the local electricity undertaking. In regard to the other points, although I rather dissent from the view that these houses are as bad as that, I will ask my Noble Friend the Minister of Works and Buildings to have that point looked into at once.