asked the Minister of Health the latest figures available, showing the balance of houses still required to make good the shortage reported by local authorities in 1919, as the result of the official survey of their requirements made under the Housing, Town Planning, etc., Act, 1919; and how soon he anticipates this shortage will be met?
The difference between the number of State-assisted houses completed up to the 1st February last and the gross estimate of shortage due to overcrowding, according to the survey referred to, is 312,505. Information is not available as to the number of unsubsidised houses built since 1919. In view of the difficulty of obtaining reliable estimates the hon. Member must not take it that I regard this as representing the present effective demand for houses. With regard to the last part of the question, I regret that I cannot at present express any opinion upon the subject.
Can the right hon. Gentleman give the House any idea as to how soon he will enable the local authorities to start building houses, by the introduction of the Bill promised for so long?
Upon what basis does the right hon. Gentleman form his estimate that there will be 312,000 houses short, because before the War we were building houses at the rate of 80,000 per year, and there has been a shortage now, for eight years?