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Transferred Workers (Accommodation, Midlands)

Volume 486: debated on Tuesday 10 April 1951

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asked the Minister of Labour if he is able to estimate the number of additional workers likely to be transferred to the Midlands, and to Birmingham in particular, in connection with the re-armament programme; and what provision he is making for the necessary housing or hostel accommodation for such workers.

No, Sir. Until it is known how far the labour requirements of the re-armament programme will be met by the switch of workers within the same factory and the transfer of others from local firms, I am unable to estimate what additional numbers may have to be brought into the Midlands region from other parts of the country.

Is the Minister aware that a considerable number of working men in Birmingham are unable to obtain adequate accommodation because of the high charge of 50s. to 55s. a week? In view of the number of men at present without beds and walking the streets, and as the hostels are full and men are being turned away, will he take some steps to see that no further influx of workers occurs or that adequate accommodation is provided?

We will do everything we can to ensure that there is no necessity for a great number of workers to be brought in. I cannot guarantee just how this will work out ultimately, but I know what a great shortage of housing accommodation there is in the Birmingham area.

As a great many men are brought in from outside to do defence work in a city such as Coventry will the Parliamentary Secretary ask his right hon. Friend to consult the Minister of Defence to see if priority can be given to such cities, as their industrial expansion over recent years has prevented them from catching up with their housing deficiencies of the past?