asked the Minister of Health whether he is now able to announce the number of housing licences to be issued for municipally-built houses in the year 1951.
The allocations to local authorities, covering both municipal building and private licensing, are designed to secure that 175,000 houses are completed in England and Wales in each of the years 1951 and 1952.
Will my right hon. Friend bear in mind that there are certain very important industrial towns in the North of England which had to make a slow start in their re-housing programme because of circumstances quite beyond their control and which now desire to increase the tempo because they have very grave housing needs? Will he reconsider allocations in those cases in the light of evidence submitted to him in support of these claims?
Certainly, Sir. If the authorities in these areas show that they are able to build more houses than they have done, having built less than their allocation, I will certainly look into these cases again.
Will my right hon. Friend issue a statement showing how many municipalities have failed to take tip their quota for 1950?
I could do that, but it would not be fair to the authorities concerned because it does not always follow that they have not been able to take up the allocation as a result of circumstances over which they have control. Very often it is because of a lack of labour in the area. That shows the great pressure upon the building industry at the moment. It is sometimes not wise to think that so many more houses can be built unless labour and materials are diverted from elsewhere.