HC Deb 22 October 1942 vol 383 cc2086-7
33. Mr. Graham White

asked the Minister of Health whether his attention has been drawn to the difficulties experienced by junior civil servants, on returning to London from the provinces, in obtaining lodgings at a price which it is within their capacity to pay; and whether he will cause an inquiry to be made with a view to the removal of this difficulty?

Mr. E. Brown

I am aware that some difficulties have been experienced, but my officers, in conjunction with the local authorities and various voluntary agencies, are making every effort to find suitable accommodation at reasonable prices in hostels and lodgings for these officers. I understand that the officers who have already returned to London are now satisfactorily accommodated, and I anticipate that it will be possible to make suitable arrangements for those yet to come. I am glad to take this opportunity of expressing my appreciation of the valuable assistance which is being afforded in this matter by the Women's Voluntary Services and the authorities of various hostels.

Mr. White

May I appeal to my right hon. Friend to make a further inquiry without delay, because, having regard to the fact that many of these juniors are only paid 35s. to 40s. a week it is impossible to get respectable lodgings?

Mr. Brown

My information is that some 700 lodgings have been found at 15s. a week for furnished rooms.

Sir Percy Harris

Is it not a fact that there is a real famine in London for unfurnished rooms, and will my right hon. Friend concentrate his mind on making inquiries throughout London as to what is really happening?

Mr. Brown

It is happening in other places than London.

Mr. W. Brown

Does the right hon. Gentleman realise that the Government must in this situation do one of three things: either increase the very low wages of the girls; or increase the subsistence allowance they are given; or, thirdly——

Mr. Speaker

The hon. Member is now giving the answer to the Question he has put.