§ Lord H. CAVENDISH-BENTINCK
asked the President of the Local Government Board whether his attention has been drawn to the last report of the county medical officer of health for Bedfordshire, in which he draws attention to the insanitary condition of the cottages in the county of Bedford, and the overcrowding which exists, resulting not only in a high death rate from phthisis among young adults, both male and female, but also in the evident demoralisation in many villages; and, seeing that the only rural 1208W district council to take action in the whole county is that of Bedford, which has erected six cottages at Sharnbrook, let at a rental of 4s. a week to gardeners and mechanics, that the district medical officer states that agricultural labourers are unable to pay this rental, and that if the erection of cottages is to become more general some means must be provided for letting the cottages at a lower rental, will he say what action he proposes to take?
§ Mr. BURNS
My attention has been drawn to the general observations in the report for the year 1911 of the county medical officer of health for Bedfordshire in regard to housing conditions in rural areas. He does not in any way indicate the particular rural areas to which he refers, but in dealing with the reports of the medical officers of health for the various districts in the county for the year 1912 I am considering what action I can take. The Noble Lord and the county council are, of course, aware of the provisions of Section 10 of the Housing, Town Planning, etc., Act, 1909. In addition to Bedford Rural District Council, Biggleswade Urban District Council have applied for sanction to a loan for a housing scheme, and I understand that Biggleswade Rural District Council are also taking action.