Private Building (Ratio)
asked the Minister of Health if he is aware that there are private builders with labour and materials available ready and willing to build houses cheaper and quicker than local authorities, but they cannot obtain the permits; and if he will now alter the ratio of private building allowed.
No, Sir. Builders who are willing and able to build houses should be able to do so for private owners possessing building licences, for local authorities under contract or for local authorities under special arrangements set out in the circular of which I am sending the hon. Member a copy.
Is the Minister aware that the firm about which I am thinking has the plant and the men and can build houses up to the standard required by the Government in a very short time and do it £100 cheaper than the local authorities can do it? Yet the firm is not allowed to do this because of the absurd ratio.
The hon. Member is in error. The Girdwood Committee could not find any evidence that private building was cheaper than building by local authorities.
But I have given the Minister evidence. He has had letter after letter.
If the hon. Member has evidence, I should advise him to send it to the committee.
Is it not the case that the firm can build these houses if it is willing to sell them to the local authority for letting to people on the priority lists?
I have already explained that the local authorities have power under the circular I have sent them to enable local private builders to build houses for sale to local authorities.
Empty Houses, London
asked the Minister of Health if he will now publish a list showing the number of empty houses in each metropolitan borough according to his recent survey.
I have nothing as yet to add to the reply I gave the hon. Member on 15th March.
When the information is forthcoming, will the right hon. Gentleman use it with the object of again considering the plan for pooling the accommodation in London so that the desperately pressed boroughs, of which Finsbury is typical, may have a chance of access to the increased accommodation in lordly and spacious areas like Maryle bone, Chelsea, and Westminster?
When the information is available, it will be examined and the distribution of the empty houses over the different parts of London will be taken into account. The hon. Member knows that there is in Committee upstairs a Bill which is designed to enable large houses to be converted into flats in order to provide more accommodation.