HC Deb 23 September 1943 vol 392 cc413-4W
Mr. Sorensen

asked the Minister of Health what further steps he is taking to deal with the present housing shortage; whether his programme of urgent rural house-building is to be expanded; how many of these houses will be completed by 1944; and what effective action local authorities have taken under new powers of requisitioning houses recently conferred on them?

Mr. E. Brown

On the first part of the Question I would refer my hon. Friend to the statement I made on 22nd July. I am glad to be able to add that a draft scheme for giving housing work the first call on immobile building labour has been circulated to representatives of the associations of local authorities and will be discussed with them next week. I regret I am not in a position to make any statement on the second part of the Question. As to the third part, it is anticipated that 50 per cent. of the houses will be completed before the end of 1943. In reply to the fourth part of the Question I shall be obtaining preliminary information shortly, and will communicate with my hon. Friend in due course.

Sir R. Clarry

asked the Minister of Health what preparatory arrangements have been made by the Government for large-scale post-war construction of new and appropriate housing accommodation?

Mr. Brown

In March last all housing authorities in England and Wales were asked to prepare programmes showing the number of houses they thought it practicable to build in the first year after the general resumption of housebuilding had been authorised. These programmes were to he based, as a rough guide, on the annual output in pre-war years. I also asked local authorities to submit proposals for the acquisition of any extra land needed for carrying out the programmes, after local consultation with the authorities responsible for planning and agriculture. Up to the 15th September proposals for building 172,141 houses had been received from 846 authorities. 8,690 acres of land are already held by these authorities and proposals to buy a further 8,208 acres have been submitted. The part which private enterprise can play—in my view an important part—is now being considered by a Sub-Committee of my Central Housing Advisory Committee under the chairmanship of Sir Felix Pole.