asked the Minister of Health how many rural cottages have been built in the county of Essex, respectively, during the war and since June; whether he will give the cost per cottage and price of land per acre for those constructed this year in comparison with those previously built and those built immediately before the war; what are the rents plus rates for those built this year; and how many new cottages are needed?
As the answer is rather long, I will with permission circulate it in the OFFICIAL REPORT.
Meanwhile, will the hon. Lady at least say how many houses for occupation have been constructed in rural districts since the war broke out?
Nine hundred and forty-four houses were completed in rural districts in Essex between 1st August, 1939, and 31st March, 1943. If the hon. Member will look at my answer, which is rather long, I think he will be able to obtain a better picture.
Surely most of these houses were completed just after the beginning of the war and from that time onwards practically no houses have been completed?
It has been the policy of the Government that labour is not to be taken during the war from other essential work to build houses. The Prime Minister has made that clear in this House.
Is the hon. Lady sure that that is the reason and that it is not due to the high price of land?
Yes, Sir. The reason as has been stated, is that labour and materials are required for essential war work and should not at this stage be diverted to housing.
Following is the answer:
944 houses were completed in rural districts in Essex between 1st August, 1939, and 31st March, 1943 (the nearest dates for which figures are available). Practically the only houses built in Essex since June last are the 66 agricultural cottages now being completed under the War-time Agricultural Cottages Scheme. The estimated average cost of these cottages is £875 for a parlour house and £691 for a non-parlour house, excluding the cost of land, roads, sewers and architects' fees and contingencies such as workmen's travelling expenses, overtime, etc. The average price of the land is £85 an acre.
The average cost of houses built by all rural district councils in June, 1939, was £462 (parlour type) and £374 (non-parlour type).
The rents of the war-time agricultural cottages will not exceed 10s. a week for parlour houses and 8s. 6d. for non-parlour houses, plus rates.
The number of new cottages ultimately needed cannot yet be assessed. It will certainly be substantial.
asked the Minister of Health whether he will use for the building and repair of rural houses Irish or other labour engaged hitherto in the construction of airfields as and when such airfields are completed?
My right hon. Friend will be glad to make use of any suitable labour as and when it becomes available.