It is obviously impossible to treat of all the questions in the long list given above, and also impossible to deal with any of them completely. All that can be done is to give a general idea of the kind of thing that is wanted; then to select a few subjects as furnishing rather fuller indications of possible lines of action; and then—just as examples—work out one or two in more detail.
Two subjects, namely, Housing and Agricultural Development, must be selected, because their vital importance demands attention from all who care about the welfare of the nation. Another subject, namely, Law Reform, is selected because it is comparatively easy to say what ought to be done and to frame Acts embodying the required reforms.
Owing to house shortage in Sheffield, two wooden pigsties are being inhabited, one by a man and his wife and two children, and the other by a man and his wife. Both men are discharged soldiers.—DAILY PAPER.
There will be no rest, and should be none, until every industrious man or woman who wishes to have a real home can have one, where everyone who has children can bring them up under conditions where decency can be maintained and healthy life be possible. It is a question of urgency in rural as well as in urban districts, in the most remote places equally with the great cities. In this matter it is no case of having to create or stimulate a desire for improvement. The demand has existed for years, but after the War will be more imperative than ever. Somehow or other it must be supplied more fully. Attempts have been made again and again to deal with the question. Its importance is recognised and special inquiries are now being made as to the best means to be adopted. It is stated that at the present time half a million additional houses for working people are required, and that 100,000 more should be provided annually to meet the normal increase of population and to replace houses which have to be demolished.
It will be necessary to consider, first, the provision to be made to meet the existing shortage of house accommodation both in urban and rural districts. At present a large portion of the population cannot find a home or even any kind of accommodation that affords reasonable comfort and decency. Since the War, in some places, such as Barrow, the conditions have been absolutely intolerable, and when those who are engaged in the army abroad return, the state of things in some districts may be worse. The President of the Local Government Board recently stated that 1,103 local authorities in England and Wales had reported that houses for the working classes were required in their areas, and that the number of houses they needed probably exceeded 300,000. As above stated, the total requirement is much greater. The deficiency of accommodation has been one of the prime causes