HC Deb 11 October 1945 vol 414 cc422-3W
Mr. Collins

asked the Minister of Health if he is aware that the repairing and reconditioning of the large numbers of country cottages which are at present uninhabitable, would case the acute housing shortage in rural areas; and if it is proposed to introduce a temporary measure in lieu of the Housing (Rural Workers) Act, to facilitate such repairs, until new permanent houses are available.

Mr. Nutting

asked the Minister of Health whether he is in a position to make a statement regarding the measures which His Majesty's Government intend to take in substitution of the Housing (Rural Workers) Act to deal with the rural housing problem.

Mr. Bevan

It is the Government's intention to concentrate the limited building labour available so far as possible on building new houses, and I have asked the Rural Housing Sub-Committee of my Central Housing Advisory Committee to advise me whether reconditioning would be likely to divert labour from the building of new houses. I will consider whether any action can be taken to facilitate reconditioning on receipt of the Sub-Committee's report.

Mr. Gooch

asked the Minister of Health what steps he proposes to take considerably to increase the cottage accommodation in the countryside; and if he will consult with the Minister of Agriculture on the special needs of the rural areas and the provision of an abundance of untied cottages of a type long denied to land workers.

Mr. Bevan

I will deal with this matter in the general statement which I hope to make to the House very shortly. In the meantime, my hon. Friend may be assured that I am in close touch with my right hon. Friend the Minister of Agriculture and that I share his view as to the necessity of a sufficient supply of untied cottages for rural workers.