§ Miss BONDFIELD
asked the Minister of Health if he is aware that the Borough Council of St. Marylebone, immediately after the passing of the 1925 Housing Act, prepared and endeavoured to carry out a scheme involving 16 acres of land, 5,000 persons, and a capital expenditure of over £1,000,000; that his Department recommended that the scope of the scheme should be reduced to less than one-half of the above dimensions; and when he will give permission for the reduced scheme to be proceeded with?
I am aware that the Metropolitan Borough Council authorised the preparation of a slum clearance scheme in October, 1926, but I would remind the hon. Member that the Housing Act, 1925, was merely a Con-1960W solidation Act, and that the Borough Council already possessed the necessary powers. The Council originally contemplated an improvement scheme covering a wide area, but such a scheme was clearly outside the Housing Acts and consequently the modified scheme to which the hon. Member refers was prepared, covering 17 acres. It was felt by my Department to be unwise for a council with no previous experience of slum clearance to embark on a scheme even of this magnitude, and it was suggested that they should confer with the London County Council. As a result the Borough Council decided to limit their 3cheme to some 7 acres, including the worst of the insanitary property, without prejudice to their right to deal with the remainder later. Subsequently at the request of the Borough Council the London County Council agreed to submit and carry out the scheme to the cost of which the Borough Council will make a contribution. An Order confirming the scheme is on the point of issue.