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Volume 498: debated on Tuesday 8 April 1952

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asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government what increase in housing accommodation is to be expected in 1952 as compared with the past three years in the city of Stoke-on-Trent; and how the figures compare with other local authorities in the West Midlands Region.


asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government what number of houses of all types were built in the city of Stoke-on-Trent during 1951; and how this number per head of the population compares with the achievement of other local authorities in the West Midlands Region for the same period.

Detailed information for the past three years is contained in the published returns. I would rather not hazard a guess at the numbers to be completed in 1952.

Would the Minister, however, be prepared to go as far as to say that he thinks this local authority are doing as well as or better than most local authorities in the West Midlands region? In view of the difficulties which he knows they must face because of subsidence and for other reasons, will he give them all further help he can?

I will give them all possible help, of course, but I do not like to be asked to make these comparisons between one part of the country and another. I am reminded of the schoolboy who was asked to say the difference between major and minor prophets and replied, Far be it from me to make any distinction between those holy men."

While the Minister is reluctant to give detailed figures, will he not promise that he will do everything he can to help the local authority to improve the good record they had last year and this year, and resist any proposal to divide the authority for building purposes in Stoke-on-Trent, as is suggested in certain proposals which are at present under consideration?

I am anxious to raise the production of houses in this area to the maximum possible, and I am very glad to see that it now appears that the hon. Member supports me in that desire.

Does this comparison between authorities apply also to gasometers?