§ 87. Mr. Skeffington
asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he is satisfied that the Government of Palestine have adequate plans for housing and adequate machinery for carrying them through.320W
§ Mr. George Hall:
Yes, Sir. The plans and machinery are satisfactory, but there is room for improvement in the supply of building materials. The Government of Palestine are fully alive to the serious nature of the housing problem, which has arisen as a result of great increases in the population and interference with normal building activities, first by the disturbances of 1936-39 and then by the diversion of effort and supplies to purposes directly related to the prosecution of the war. As a result of surveys conducted by public arid private bodies, which revealed the great congestion obtaining, particularly in urban areas, a central advisory committee on housing was appointed in 1944 and plans made for an expanding housing programme as soon as conditions would permit the importation of essential materials, such as timber and steel, which are not available locally.
Bulk orders were placed and importing arrangements made by the Government to ensure the provision of building materials at the lowest possible cost. When these began to arrive in 1945 the Government Emergency Building Scheme was put into operation, to provide accommodation at reasonable rents for the cramped population of the urban centres of Jerusalem, Jaffa, Tel-Aviv and Haifa. This scheme, which is progressing favourably, will provide accommodation for some 14,000 families. Municipal schemes and programmes of Housing Associations and Private Companies designed to accommodate some 12,000 families have received Government approval and are now under way.
The supply of building materials imported under Government auspices is constantly improving and the local mass production of standardised components organised by the Controller of Heavy Industries has substantially reduced the cost of those items. The plans and the machinery are satisfactory and every effort is being made to secure the materials necessary for the realisation of these plans.