§ Mr. E. SIMON
asked the Minister of Health whether his attention has been drawn to the figures given by the Chairman of the London County Council Housing Committee, showing that the number of houses proposed to be built by the Committee of the building industry cannot possibly be built on the conditions laid down by them; and whether he will ask them to reconsider their Report, especially as regards increasing the output per worker per week?
§ Mr. WHEATLEY
My attention has been drawn to the figures in question. I gather that they are based on an augmentation of the industry by apprentices to the number of one-third of the number of craftsmen employed from time to time on housing schemes. I understand the proposal of the Committee to be a wider one, and that the increase of apprentices will apply to the whole of the skilled craftsmen in each district, and not merely to those engaged on housing work.1379W
§ Mr. SIMON
also asked the Minister of Health whether he is aware that about 86,000 working-class houses were completed in 1921, 100,000 in 1922, and 70,000 in 1923, and that the building trade in their recent Report undertake in return for important concessions a minimum of only 60,000 in the first year and under 70,000 in the second; and will he ask the Building Trade Committee to reconsider their undertaking?
§ Mr. WHEATLEY
Information, so far as it is available, as to the number of working-class houses completed in England and Wales during 1921, 1922, and 1923, was given in reply to a question addressed to me by the hon. Member last Wednesday. The hon. Member should bear in mind, when comparing those figures with the figures in the Report of the National House Building Committee, that the latter include only houses coming within the limits of size fixed by the Housing Act, 1923, for houses on which subsidy may be paid; the former figures include a considerable number of houses of a larger type, let at rents beyond the means of the ordinary working classes. As the number of skilled craftsmen in the industry has fallen appreciably since 1922, and it is contemplated that under the Committee's scheme other building, including the building of larger types of houses, will be maintained, I do not think the Committee's estimate, which is, it will be noted, a minimum, estimate, is unduly pessimistic.