HC Deb 20 November 1951 vol 494 cc211-3
41. Mr. S. Silverman

asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government what is the minimum number of houses he expects to be completed in 1951, 1952 and 1953, respectively.

Mr. H. Macmillan

The number of houses completed in England and Wales in the nine months ended 30th September, 1951, was 123,799. I cannot yet give a reliable estimate of the number likely to be completed in subsequent periods.

Mr. Silverman

Would the right hon. Gentleman bear in mind that I did not ask him about the number likely to be completed? I asked him about the minimum number of houses he expects to be completed in 1951, 1952 and 1953. Are we to understand that the answer means that he cannot now tell us what is the minimum number of houses to be completed even in 1953?

Mr. Macmillan

I think it would be very foolish of me to tie myself—[Interruption.] We rely upon performance rather than dogma.

Mr. E. Shinwell

Was there not some reference made to a target of 300,000 houses during the election by the Conservative Party?

Mr. Macmillan

I expect there will be some reference made to it by the right hon. Gentleman at the next election.

Mr. Shinwell

Will the right hon. Gentleman give the House a plain answer? Was there not some reference made to this matter? Are the Government now withdrawing from the statements they made?

Hon. Members


Mr. Macmillan

The right hon. Gentleman presses me, but he knows perfectly well what the statement was. I requoted it myself from my right hon. Friend's speech the other day. It is a target which we shall aim to achieve. [Interruption.] What astonishes me is that hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite appear to hope that we shall fail.

Several Hon. Members rose

Mr. Speaker

We have a lot of Questions yet.

Mr. S. Silverman

On a point of order. A number of supplementary questions have been asked by other Members on my Question, Mr. Speaker, and I am grateful to them, but may I ask for your indulgence in asking a further one myself?

Mr. Speaker

I am very indulgent, but I cannot do that. We shall have to get on. Supplementary questions, hon. Members must realise, do stand in the way of other hon. Members who have ask, and there are many more Questions.

Mr. Silverman

In view of the highly unsatisfactory and uncandid nature of the answer to my Question, I beg to give notice that I shall seek an early opportunity to raise this matter on the Adjournment.

Mr. J. J. Astor

On a point of order. May I have an answer to Question 38?

Mr. Speaker

I called the hon. Member, and he did not rise.

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