§ Mr. H. Brooke
During 1957, more than 44,000 unfit houses were demolished or closed and nearly 150,000 people rehoused. This is very good progress, and, at this rate, many local authorities will have got rid of all slum property in their areas by 1960. In other cases, particularly big cities, it has always been recognised that the process would take much longer.
§ Mr. Sparks
Is the Minister aware that, on the basis of the figures he has now given to the House, it will take twenty-nine years to clear all the 847,000 dwellings 1007 notified to him as unfit by local authorities? In view of the very long time involved, during which other slums will accumulate, is there nothing he can do to speed up the approvals by his Department of clearances throughout the whole area where slum property exists?
§ Mr. Brooke
I shall never be satisfied about the clearance of slums, but the hon. Gentleman knows as well as I do that the situation varies vastly from one area to another. The fact is that, during the last two years, we have rehoused over a quarter of a million people from slum houses. I do not for one moment dispute that, in the big cities, it will take a long time. Nevertheless, the progress is very good.