asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department, To inform the House what will be the cost to the Metropolitan ratepapers of the destruction of property in the Metropolis for the purpose of carrying into operation "The Artizans' and Labourers' Dwellings Improvement Act, 1875; " how many families have already been compelled, owing to such destruction 'of property, to find new homes; and, whether it be true that the Metropolitan Board of Works, in failing to find purchasers for the sites at their original cost, now propose to sell them at greatly reduced prices which may involve a loss of more than a quarter of million of money to the Metropolitan ratepayers?
MR. ASSHETON CROSS
, in reply, said, the estimated cost of these schemes would be found in the Papers already laid upon the Table. With regard to the number of persons who had been removed, or would be removed, he had not yet received accurate information; but his hon. Friend knew that the work had to be done gradually, and that his (Mr. Assheton Cross's) consent had to be obtained before any large number of persons could be removed. The hon. Member might rely that no unnecessary hardship would be inflicted. As regarded the sum of money for which the Metropolitan Board of Works contemplated selling the land, it must be remembered that they were selling vacant land, and that they bought it covered with houses. The Metropolitan Board of Works must look for their return not merely in the buildings placed upon the site, but in the removal and decrease of pauperism. There was a proposition before the Metropolitan Board of Works for the purchase of 1289 these sites on the condition that they should be covered with buildings in the course of three years; and, so far as he was concerned, every power which he possessed would be used to secure the assent of the Metropolitan Board to this proposal. They would hardly be doing their duty if they did not accept it.