HC Deb 24 June 1952 vol 502 c2014
4. Mr. Hale

asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government for what reason the ceiling height of houses being built by the Oldham Corporation has been reduced from 8 ft. 6 in. to 7 ft. 6 in.; and whether he will give the comparable cubic capacities of comparable council houses having these ceiling heights.

Mr. H. Macmillan

The reduction which was from 8 ft. not 8 ft. 6 in., was one of the measures taken by the Council to reduce cost. The capacity is reduced by 6¼per cent.

Mr. Hale

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that, while no one objected to this interesting experiment, we are all anxious to know whether the saving on cost will be more, in proportion, than the saving in amenities? Is it not time that he should come clean and say what reduction is being made in the general standards of council houses, as regards size, amenities and cupboard room and take these matters into account when he publishes any figures?

Mr. Macmillan

This was recommended in Circular 58/50 of 22nd May, 1950.

Mr. Hale

We are now being told that this is going to be introduced generally throughout the country. We want to know why and what the saving is going to be.

Mr. Gibson

Is it not a fact that the experiment which has been referred to by my hon. Friend has now in fact been made a widespread policy by the right hon. Gentleman's Department? Is it not also a fact that it is possible, if proper steps are taken, to make a reduction in building costs without reducing housing standards?

Mr. Macmillan

As the hon. Gentleman knows quite well, local authorities are absolutely free to build houses as they wish. For my purposes I shall be very glad if they succeed in building a larger number of houses, with the same amount of materials, of the well known Dudley standards and in accordance with the recommendations of both my predecessors.

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