Speeches, Interviews & Other Statements

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1951 Apr 3 Tu
Margaret Thatcher

Speech to Erith Tenants Association

Document type:public statement
Document kind:Speech
Venue:Northumberland Heath, Erith, Kent
Source:Erith Observer, 6 April 1951
Journalist:-
Editorial comments:Evening?
Importance ranking:Major
Word count:318
Themes:Housing, Education

TORIES WILL BUILD 300,000 HOUSES

LABOUR BETRAYED THE PEOPLE, SAYS CANDIDATE

A pledge that if a Conservative Government were returned, 300,000 houses would be built annually was made by Miss Margaret Roberts, M.A., B.Sc., (prospective Conservative candidate) to Erith Tenants Association at Northumberland Heath on Tuesday.

In what the chairman (Mr. R. Jackson) described as "the best speech I have heard," she flayed the Government housing policy and accused them of "betraying the people."

The greatest social service on the Conservative programme was housing, for national conditions would not improve until the people were fully housed, she said. All the money spent on education was wasted if youngsters did not have a decent home background.

When Conservatives set their target of 300,000 houses it was greeted with approval from members of all political parties. The Minister of Works was reported as saying in October: "We are building 200,000 houses a year, but that could be increased by 15 per cent. ..." Building trade union officials also had agreed that more houses could be built.

What did it take to build a house, asked Miss Roberts? About 20,000 bricks, 9½ tons of cement and a quantity of timber. To build 300,000 houses, then, 6,000,000,000 bricks would be needed—only three-quarters of the pre-war brick production.

Builders would require 3,000,000 tons of cement, which was merely a third of Britain's present production, although output would have to be stepped up to maintain the export figure. As for timber, there was no world shortage.

The secret of building houses was to have the right materials at the right places at the right time, contended Miss Roberts.

The candidate concluded: "We are confident that we can house the people by building 300,000 houses a year. If we are elected and find we can reach that figure we will then try to surpass it."