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Volume 524: debated on Tuesday 9 March 1954

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asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government how many four- and five-bedroomed houses were built in 1953; and how this compares with 1951.

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Housing and Local Government
(Mr. Ernest Marples)

In 1953, 4,211 dwellings with four bedrooms and 36 dwellings with five or more bedrooms were completed. The figures for 1951 were 4,295 and 69, respectively. These figures apply only to houses built by local authorities and new town corporations.

But how does the hon. Gentleman explain that there were less in 1953 than in 1951 when "The Right Road for Britain" specified that his party would build more four- and five-bedroomed houses for large families? They have not been built through the local councils or in the new towns.

There is hardly any difference in the figures as between 1951 and 1953. All the evidence now shows that the size of the family is decreasing, and surely it is the correct policy to see that the number of rooms in a house corresponds with the number of people in the family?

Could the hon. Gentleman explain if that document "The Right Road for Britain" has been paid for by the same British intelligencers?

House Purchase (Deposits)


asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government what progress has been made in his talks with building societies to secure a reduction in the deposit which a house purchaser has to find.

Two complementary schemes of guarantee under Section 5 (2) of the Housing Act, 1949, have been worked out. These schemes are now being considered by the associations of local authorities concerned. My right hon. Friend hopes to have their comments shortly.

In view of the immense interest in this subject, can the hon. Gentleman explain what "shortly" means, because we have had a big disparity in the use of that word?

I think it would be prudent to wait until the local authority associations make their comments. The schemes were sent to them on 25th February last, and as soon as1 they have made their reply my right hon. Friend will be in a position to make a statement.

Newcastle-Under-Lyme (Sites)

49 and 50.

asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government (1) if he is aware of the continuing shortage of housing sites in Newcastle-under-Lyme; and if he will make a statement on the release of further land to the south of Seabridge Lane;

(2) if he is in a position to make a statement on the joint survey of land for housing in Newcastle-under-Lyme undertaken by the land commissioner, the county planning officer and the borough surveyor; and how soon he will be able to grant planning permission for additional sites.

Yes, Sir. As the result of the survey certain proposals are at present being considered in consultation with the Ministry of Agriculture, but my right hon. Friend is not yet in a position to make a statement.

Whilst thanking the hon. Gentleman for the assistance being given to Newcastle-under-Lyme by the officers of his Department, will he appreciate that the Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council is unable to accede to the request of his right hon. Friend for a three-year housing plan because of their inability to forecast the housing sites? Therefore, will he maintain continuous touch with the Ministry of Agriculture in order to give the council the assurance that their housing programme can go ahead?

Yes, Sir. My right hon. Friend is aware that Newcastle has sufficient land for housing until, I think, the end of 1955, but he also appreciates that they want a speedy decision so that they can get ahead with the essential services on further sites, and he will certainly bear that in mind.

Building Costs


asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government the average costs of building per house in 1948 and 1953; what were the costs of materials per house in 1948 and 1953; what were the costs of labour per house in 1948 and 1953; and what proportions of the total cost per house were materials and labour, respectively, in 1948 and 1953.

The relevant figures for a three-bedroom local authority house begun in 1948 are given in the Second Report of the Girdwood Committee. I estimate the cost of the average three-bedroom house built in 1953 at £1,385, of which £457 (33 per cent.) represents labour and £790 (57 per cent.) materials.