HC Deb 28 July 1953 vol 518 cc1088-9
41. Mr. Bowden

asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government if he will now approve the contracts for 254 houses for the Leicester City Council, 236 of which were applied for in April; and if he is aware that these contracts expire unless confirmed by approval of the contracts by 31st July.

Mr. Marples

The amount of work still in hand on Corporation contracts already approved does not justify the addition of further commitments at present.

Mr. Bowden

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that to ensure continuity it is necessary to approve these contracts now, because brick orders have to be placed at least six months ahead? If that is done at this moment continuity will be ensured.

Mr. Marples

I cannot agree with that because the completions of traditional houses in Leicester numbered 494 in 1952, built of brick, and 192 in the first half of 1953. They have now 961 houses under construction, which is twice as many as they completed in 1952, and 127 approved but not started. I think it would be the best thing if Leicester were to complete some of these and then come back again.

Mr. Janner

Why were only 334 brick houses permitted since January in Leicester, irrespective of the brick shortage, which did not arise at anything like that time? Does the hon. Gentleman realise that there are 10,800 on the waiting list for these brick houses, which could be built if he were to let us get on with it?

Mr. Marples

People on the waiting list are interested only in completed houses and not in houses under construction. As Leicester has 961 houses under construction, twice as many as they completed in 1952. I think they should complete some of those first.