HomeThe house famine and how to relieve itPagina 18

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18
The next remedy is in two parts, both of which may be disputed.
(1) Municipal houses to be provided only in places where they
, can be built at a fair profit. No municipality to be allowed to build
at a loss, no rents to be artificially lowered.
( (2) Municipalities to rigidly enforce the Public Health provisions
against overcrowding.
I The reasons why building is not to be at a loss are, of course :
(1) High rents ought to be met by high wages. Building at a
loss would be a bounty in aid of wages.
(2) Building at a loss means adding to overcrowding.
( Districts where the land is so dear that it is impossible to house
i at a proüt are districts where the conflict between the inhabited
I house and the business premise is acute, and the interference of the
municipality will only drive the business premise to another part of
( the district or to a new district to continue the light there. Every
l inhabited house erected in such a district means the pulling down of
[ inhabited houses in another part, and thus leads to displacing more
[ than it houses. Also such building attracts fresh people to the
) district and discourages others from leaving it.
i The administration against overcrowding is necessary in order to
weed out those people who could live in the suburbs or in the
( country round London. These people are taking up room which .
i ought to be left for those who have to live near their work, and it is
socially immoral for them to continue in the centre. If it were
generally understood that the overcrowding provisions were enforced,
people would deliberate rnore about moving to London, and the
result would be that only those persons would be left in the centre
who ought to be there. ‘
I see no municipal cures for overcrowding but those I have men-
tioned. Rating unoccupied houses might do some good here and
there, but would not have much general effect. Rating site values
, might force landlords to sell or let at once, and not hold for a rise,
but in London the buildings erected would not necessarily be in-
habited houses. In the suburbs and outside London this measure
l might lead to more land coming on to the market, but it would be
difficult to convince the House of Commons of its justice or utility.
" Taxation of ground values, as advocated by the Progressives, would
I prccure more revenue but fail tc touch the causes of overcrowding.
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