asked the Minister of Health what progress has been made during the last month in the erection of new houses, and if differences of opinion between certain local authorities and the Health Ministry as to sites, costs, and prospective rents are so acute that a number of schemes have been abandoned; if there is a very marked variation as to the proposed economic rents in different localities; and how many people, with the total salaries paid them, are employed in the work connected with re-housing?
§ Dr. ADDISON:
Complete figures are not yet available to show the progress of house building during June, but during May 792 houses and flats were completed, and work was commenced on a further 3,810 houses. The total number of houses included in contracts signed during the month by local authorities and public utility societies was 10,671. In addition the preliminary certificate of approval was isued by local authorities in respect of 2,762 houses proposed to be erected under the subsidy scheme, and work will have been commenced on a number of these. I am not aware that any schemes have been abandoned for the reasons quoted by my hon Friend, but it is certainly true that difficulties as to costs of sites and high prices generally in connection with building have in some cases occasioned delay to housing schemes. The proposals regarding the initial rents to be charged by local authorities show variation, but not very material variation between localities. Different circumstances in each locality must inevitably occasion some variation. As regards the last part of the question, it is not clear to me whether my hon. Friend refers to staff engaged on housing generally or only to those engaged in "re-housing" under Part 1 and 2 of the Housing of the Working Classes Act, 1890.