Tuesday, July 31, 2018

The Capitalist Housing Bill (1924)

From the July 1924 issue of the Socialist Standard

Mr. Wheatley, the Labour Minister of Health, speaking on his housing Bill in the House of Commons, said :—
   "Labour does not propose to interfere with private enterprise in the building of houses. Labour does not propose to interfere with private enterprise in the manufacturing of building material. Labour only touches private enterprise here at one point, and that is in the investment of private capital in the ownership of these rented houses. But what does Labour do in return for that interference? It says to the man with small capital: "Instead of putting your private capital into a risky investment, lend it to the local authorities at 4½ per cent. Without your having any trouble at all you will get a safe return for your money, with all the security behind it of a municipal investment.” The Labour party’s programme on housing is not a Socialist programme at all.”—(Parliamentary Debates, March 26th, p. 1470.)
They don’t "interfere with private enterprise” except at one point, he says. The point where they interfere is when they borrow money from bankers, etc., promising them a safe return ! Such is the "Red” from the Clyde.
Adolph Kohn


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