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Agricultural Workers' Cottages

Volume 390: debated on Wednesday 30 June 1943

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asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Works whether the agricultural cottages to be built by his Department are to have concrete floors and stairs?

In the agricultural cottages to be built to the Ministry of Works' specification, there will be no concrete floors with the exception of the larder and W.C. The kitchen, hall and bathroom will be quarry tiled. The living room floor, staircase and the bedroom floors will be of timber.

Is the Parliamentary Secretary aware that local authorities and others who have desired to use timber for floors, stairs and so forth have been unable to use it because of the shortage of supply, and how is it, if there is this shortage, that timber can be used for these cottages?

An application has been made to the Timber Controller, and timber has been released.

Are these the agricultural cottages we heard about many months ago or some other cottages?

Will the Minister give a further explanation of the known fact that cottages built by his Department seem to have a call on any amount of timber and that those built by anyone else are restricted by his Department?


asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Works how many prefabricated dwellings for agricultural key workers have been built for which his Department is responsible; what was the cost per dwelling and per foot super; and what was the shortest and longest time taken from the decision to build being made and their fitness for habitation?

The Ministry of Works has so far built 10 married quarters for agricultural key workers. The cost is about £600. The cost per foot super is 19s. 5d. The actual time taken in building varies between three and five months.

Is the Parliamentary Secretary satisfied with the speed of erection and the price of these buildings?

Does not my hon. Friend think that in these questions it would be better to mention feet and yards instead of super feet, so that we can understand them?

Can the Minister tell us why the cost is so much greater than the pre-war cost?


asked the Minister of Health whether local authorities were advised by his Department that if difficulty were experienced in securing materials or labour for the construction of cottages for agricultural workers, his Department would make available reserves of material and introduce the necessary labour?

Local authorities were informed in the Circular which my right hon. Friend sent to them on 4th February that every priority for labour and materials will be accorded to approved schemes.

While I thank the hon. Lady for her reply, is she aware that this Question was addressed to the Ministry of Works, and is it not the policy of that Department to transfer all awkward matters to other Departments?

Is it not a fact that the situation has changed since February, and that the promise of assistance from the Minister of Labour and the Minister of Works is now of no value whatsoever in this matter?

Yes. I am glad to say that the prohibition that the Ministry of Works imposed for the houses at first, saying that timber was not to be used, has now been rescinded, and timber will be permitted to local authorities for exactly the same purpose as announced by the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Works.