asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Works whether he is aware of the adverse criticisms which have been made of the design for flat-roofed rural cottages which has been published; and whether he will take steps to ensure that cottages erected under the new scheme will be of a more artistic appearance?
I am aware that there are many persons in this country who are opposed to flat-roofed houses. I am also aware that many people, including competent architects, are by no means unfavourable; but I would point out that the reason why my Ministry prepared the typical designs of flat-roofed rural houses, to which my hon. Friend refers, was the shortage of available materials, which would be required to build all these houses with pitched roofs.
Will my hon. Friend do his utmost to see that the countryside beauty is not ruined by the erection of hideous cubes?
asked the Minister of Health the cubical content of the new cottages to be built for agricultural workers; and the coat of building, including land, sewers and roads?
The cubical content will vary according to forms of construction. On the basis of the type plans which have been sent to local authorities, cubical content, including outbuildings, would range from 13,636 cubic feet to 15,592 cubic feet for parlour houses and from 12,180 cubic feet to 14,239 cubic feet for non-parlour houses. My right hon. Friend will not be in a position to reply to the last part of the Question until tenders have been obtained.
Is the hon. Lady aware that during the last war the Reconstruction Committee reported, on their housing proposals, that it required a return of 12½ per cent. to arrive at an economic rental? How is it possible for agricultural workers to pay anything like an economic rental, and who is going to make up the difference?
My hon. Friend had better wait until we see the tenders.
Has the hon. Lady pre-costing people in her Department?
The pre-costing people could give a forecast, but we had better not do that until we see the prices in the tenders.
Cannot the Department make a pre-cost estimate?
We can check that up when the tenders come in. We cannot say the cost before the tenders come in.