68. Mr. FOOT MITCHELL
asked the Minister of Health what steps are being taken to meet the housing shortage in agricultural districts, especially where cottages provided in the past by land- 571 owners for farm labourers are now being occupied by other classes of workers?
I regret that figures are not available showing the total number of new houses which have been erected in agricultural districts and are occupied by farm labourers. As the hon. Member is, no doubt, aware, increased financial assistance was authorised by the Housing Act of 1924 for houses erected in agricultural parishes, and, so far, 135 rural district councils have submitted schemes for the erection of 3,872 houses in such parishes. Of these, 555 have been completed, 957 are under construction, and 508 have been definitely arranged for but not started. I can assure the hon. Member that the problem of housing in agricultural parishes is engaging my constant attention, and I have hopes that rural district councils generally will take increased advantage of the facilities offered to provide houses in agricultural parishes.
§ Mr. MACKINDER
Is the Minister prepared to take steps to impress upon some of the agricultural districts the necessity for building houses, and is he aware that in some cases attempts have been made and have been defeated where the cost would have been infinitesimal and the need for houses is great? Will he help to impress it upon them?