HC Deb 22 October 1942 vol 383 cc2083-5
23. Mr. Lipson

asked the Minister of Health what is the present estimate of the housing shortage?

Mr. E. Brown

I regret that I cannot indicate with precision the extent of the shortage at the present time. My hon. Friend will, however, appreciate that in any case it is not possible under existing conditions to provide new accommodation but I can assure him that a start will be made with what will clearly be a very big programme immediately the labour and materials can be made available for the purpose.

Mr. Lipson

Is it not the duty of my right hon. Friend to find out exactly under what conditions the people of this country are living now?

Mr. Brown

I have vast masses of information about that, but my hon. Friend asked a specific Question, and to that I could not give an answer.

Mr. Lipson

In view of the fact that all the local authorities have this information, would it not be a simple matter for my right hon. Friend to obtain it?

Mr. Brown

It is not quite as simple as that. There are many considerations involved besides statistical facts about houses.

Earl Winterton

Is not my right hon. Friend aware that this matter may have very considerable bearing on the appalling increase in tuberculosis, in view of the overcrowding which goes on, and will he not at the earliest possible, date provide the figures for which he has been asked?

Mr. Brown

I am not sure that I can do so with precision, but I will give the House the fullest possible information at the earliest possible date.

Mr. G. Griffiths

Is the Minister giving any consideration to the question of the new entrants into the coalmining industry, as the mining villages are packed now, and if new entrants go there, what is to be done? It is time the Minister woke up.

Mr. Brown

There is no need to tell me that. We are very busy on this problem, but, as hon. Members know, building labour is employed on very great strategic matters. It is not only mining that is concerned. The agricultural industry has its needs, too.

24. Mr. Lipson

asked the Minister of Health whether he has given further consideration to the unsatisfactory housing conditions in certain areas where the population has increased since the war and no new houses have been built; and what action he proposes to take in the matter?

Mr. Brown

Yes, Sir, I am constantly reviewing problems of accommodation in consultation with the local authorities concerned, so as to ensure the best use of existing accommodation and such measure of amelioration as is possible under present conditions.

Mr. Lipson

Will my right hon. Friend bear in mind that the wives and families of many of the men serving in the Forces are living in most deplorable conditions and that this must be having a very serious effect on morale?

Mr. Brown

There is not only that problem, but also the problem of Service men coming back from the Forces and young people who get married.

Sir I. Albery

Will my right hon. Friend bear in mind the number of blocks of flats and houses which have been almost completed?

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