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I TO HOUSE THE WORKERS.

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I TO HOUSE THE WORKERS. CARDIFF TRADE UNION CONFERENCE'S COMPREHENSIVE DEMANDS. £ 5,000,000 GOVERNMENT GRANT ASKED FOR. MR. LLEUFER THOMAS ON LAND, LAY-OUT AND £ S. D. SHARP CLASH OVER DIRECT LABOUR. CARDIFF, Saturday. TeJoint Oonference on Labour Housing held ? ? Hall to-day, should be productive of  d than on   l iv expects from h. p? .? goo than one generally expects from this Particular kind of a Conference; which always atiff,??ic, to ?'? extent from the fact that its cleus is not solid, but co-operative on this pSi Wij alone. To-day the conveners are the S W"? "'? ) the National Housing and Town pi alining Council, and the We?h Housing and Dev Association, the binding link being, | Rhiefl I suppose, the infections enthusiasm of e, Secretary of the latter, Edgar L. Chappell. ? S? ?s I say, good results should accrue since th ?stake has not been made of crowding the ?. '"our agenda with resolutions. Three very I Gojj Cj expressions of opinion on needed reform are for debate, and three only embodied in resolutions; and also from the fact that )?? ?Isgation has a strong practical element, in t? number of building trade delegates present ? ??ssentatives of their own bodies. Trade tOo??ts and local Socialist Societies; I there is tOl b 19 a contingent of miners, including some f?f tbO most forceful and progressive members tr 041 the valliegâalthough many of them, in- ?clum? ag Jas. Winstone, all absent until the af- Z,hoofi session, owing to a meeting of the Con- ⢠Cilial-0& Board; this promises a dynamic that is ??Dn ? without the active support of the liUn ? South Wales; and also there is a strong \\rhnxn of keen reformers in this direction, *ha ?Suence may be usefully employed in t'ir? 6s where Labour is hardly likely to sap, as  as enough local councillors to give a strong illl(!I,ll of sympathy in the most reactionary Str "'Igholds we have to-day on this question. all round the indications are good, and \tith retly M', ?' Lleufer Thomas, J.P., agrees ?th ?? 'f or ? his opening address, a quiet out the ne' he dwelt upon this fact broadly. y, ,Confer?nce> he said, had a very special °f ^ClnCe was the martialling of the forces tb. r es ?monism in South Wales, in a way t?t had rarely taken place in the past, to oon- si(S, ? ?"??on other than purely industrial ?tttest ??- So far as the Conference was con- ing 1J.;î t\¡ Was c".tílvct for the purpose of consider- itti* +i 6 question of taking up the burden of ?J '?torm, with reference to matter which ? ?Cted the whole community, and not only one °las and that was a very great advance upon ^ha+' Was represented as being the general atti- hid ? °? trades unionism. Many people were apt tild,'0 'If trades unl on l sm. Manv people were apt t0 a that in the past trades unions had -aid too u?h attention to the problems of Capital ?oour, to the exclusion of questions of ??ial reforni. He did not agree that this was V a but it was the generally accepted view. A? the same time he felt that in this question ?-?. ? P???S to the converted, and that it ?as ? quite unnecessary to labour the "e ttage of houses at the present time. The Yerv tact that there had been practically a ces- T'he of building during the war showed that. *^tiv TaS not being produced houses to meet the 4atul-al ?crease of population during the period Hiol f ?? ??? there was another aspect of ?hi? had to take cognisance, and that was ?f? addition to this shortage a very consider- ?b}e ?"?r of houses in the larger and older !? 'lot i-E-ally fitted for human habita- t'on ?T'? ? ?'?lly ?tted for human habita- ? dp??-PP??se). Then there was the spectre th ob¡]'satiO'n' a spectre in this respect that ere w ld < ere au be very great difficulties respecting ?e re rp ^ustments of La b our and the nnding the "adlustments of Labour and tho fin mg of 0 T1j?ation for the people; and it would be ?  f)¡ the country, and for the statesmen, if thby dJd ??? consider this and see how the men dra fted fro, the army cou l d be titilised foi- the ?ft") ? "'? the army could be utilised for the ?c?ostruction of houses for the peoples. jj a^vi^ed the Conference not to regard the aN1,51utio,, a. isolated, but to see that there was a g0j, 611 ^hain of continuity running through all ? the ? leading to a logical completeness. He R?t ? h the three aspects dealt withâthe ac- quisif "? ? land; adequate planning; and ^^anep' Th, is was the golden chain through ? 'a a- First with regard to the acquisi- tion of i anc^ we cou^ not blind ourse l ves to the !p,ct th r"? ?? ???? ?°t himd ourselves to the III the at a great ???? of the housing difficulties] ? the had arisen, to a considerable extent, ??in?? ? ?t? he system of land tenure in this coun- try,  overen)wding of houses p tlwputting .1 ??wn of overcrowding,' of houses^ the putting do,w U of to, many houses to the acre the lack Opel, spa the I)riin,,iii- of houses to the 4O,f(,' street, and the h?ck of anything like ?quat ???ng were largely due to dimculties ??MD. '?" o? the land question. That was the ?tr%1l 119 olitOf the land question. -lat was the tion th1. 119 that had to be considered in connec- Ilspect th h?using. Then came next the broad aspect ? +1 ? we could not acquire the land right T)Ilt If  ??'? difficulties out of the land .ol the'l; en Power had to be acquiied to con- tqrol theand, ?? to regulate its use for build- in, 9 Plirpo.ses.This li?i(I ?ili-eadv been conceded this count so far as agricultural land was ^Qcerned del' recent orders; and we mustj ?k to acquir ? State control for building eposes alon control for Ul mg alol'g same lines. This could best done th? ?t?sation of propel' town plan- ?g schemes ,,h(,e,.]3y we could indirect- ? ? ?nuence Hif? ??,? h?ci, .and th<rciit of Eposes by 'Vvi ^fe^.ldf mg purpos??s. If we in-  H1 our  ?."ded in 0nr ,,i â lllllll!r ^T'M strict 'efll l a- o:! ver 18 a q S* over th?e ?.?'-? "? building we would ren- l' It imr| vis^Mn r the land-owner to extract ? Ia.n?d ?r?oSs S ?' ?? ?"???' t? ?t?ct tb 0land  -3 P t because he cou ld not 1)14"t -so Till'ic h as, Jeeause e eou no ? so ? Formerly: The third .Vo^ ^0,1^ r.pr°hh>m treated ? the ?Senda was +W of f]nanc«> of loans. This had ?e arirl ^11 "? ??ing difficulty since tb .\a'l' and n th b thiva, i? ? and in the i-esollitiollslll,?, put forward ti,h P"(,T),osal tlxat we slioiild for a sum of at P5,066 '000 + be set } aside and allocated to â N^°'uh \Vaipi Vf, e Ti:e:1SUVy Some of this Vldbe Jwen » ??' ? ??1 authorities, ? cc?eitXam n propori'On to be given to meet the increased cost of building due to the war. These were the three heads-land; lay-out; and ;t s. d. Continuing, Mr. Ueufer Thomas expressed the opinion that the present was a most promising time to push forward the project* for housing re- form in South Wales because the Prime Minister was a Welshman, who had first seen the light of day through a cottage window; and Lord Rhondda was really interested in the scheme and willing to help because he had realised its influence on health, and the importance of health on the efficiency of the nation's life. We could expect a great deal from him. He depre- cated the sneer of those idealists who objected to housing reform as being concerned only with the gross material side of life, and emphasised the reality of the importance of the improve- ment of the material surroundings of life as a necessary preliminary to any spiritual, national or individual development. The unfortunate absence of James Winstone, Ald. Richards, and others whose names were printed as movers of the earlier resolutions, the agenda had to be reorganised, and Resolution 4 was brought forward first by Mr. Tom Griffiths, Divisional Secretary of the Steel Smelters' As- sociation. It read: That this Conference, re- cognising (a) the alarming shortage of working class dwellings throughout most areas in Great Britainâthis shortage being due to the, sup- ply of new houses prior to the war not being sufficient to meet the needs of the increasing population; and (b) the peremptory need for dealing on dras- tic lines with the insanitary and unwholesome houses which at present exist and which are a menace to the health of the people urges upon the Government not only to frame an after the war housing policy but to take the necessary legislative steps to secure: (1) that within a period of ten years from the close of the wa.r all insanitary and un- wholesome dwellings shall be either destroyed or brought up to a fit standard of habitation; ('2') that in both urban and mM .amis the preparation of planning schemes shall be made obligatory on Local Authorities; and (3) that every year houses shall be built in sufficient numbers to provide not only for the growth of the needs of the community but for the re-housing on proper lines ot all those dis- possessed as a result of the closing and clear- ance of unfit dwellings and the suppression of overcrowding." Mr. Griffiths was particularly pleased with what he called the atmosphere of sanity," in which they met; by which he made it clear that this was because most of the meetings he had attended for the past 2- years had been de- voted to endeavours to discover means of de- stroying life abroad; whilst here we were seek- ing solutions to social problems for the preserva- tion of human lives in this country. (Cheers.) For 17 years, he told us, he had been attending Trades Union Congress and Labour Party Con- ferences at which resolutions dealing with housing reform had been passed, but it ended there. No more seemed to fee made whatever. He wanted to warn us against, this mere passing of resolutions. We had to do, to translate reso- lutions into action, and, if necessary, take a line from the log of the Russian proletariat, and if the Powers that foe would not move with the times and deal with this great problem, then on behalf of the great mass of the working-classâ who after all were the worst sufferers-some drastic steps would have to be taken to compel them to do so. (Cheers.) Again, the resolutions urged the Government to make the reforms asked for obligatory on local authorities. He was often told that al- ready there were sufficient measures on the Statute Book to deal with the whole housing problem; but the people whose opportunity of translating resolutions and Acts into real things, preferred sending rack-renters and slum owners to represent them on local authorities, rather than men actuated with real desires to solve this pressing problem. He told of the 200 houses in Neath which had been constructed with money borrowed from the Government at 3-J per cent.âcapital and interest to be repaid in 60 yearsâand surrounding which were spacious recreation grounds, bowling greens, and shady arbours; and emphasised the improvement in efficiency and citizenship which residence in these houses, and under these conditions had meant. The fraternising on the greens had broken down class distinctions; and from the industrial point of view employers had told him that the men were far better "at time keeping than they had been before they resided here. He had a house GO yards away from the Corporation scheme houses. He was paying £ 3 10s. 6d. a year ground rent on it, and in 99 years it was to be handed over to someone yet unborn in good condition and in good order." This meant that in 99 years' the sum of something like C390 would have been paid to someone for this ground rent, and then the house in good order had to be handed over. On the other hand, in 60 years the Corporation working classes' houses would ue clear of capital' and interest charges on the loan; and if the Neath Council only got £ 1 per month per house, this would mean that the houses would pay half the rates for Neath if they remained at their present level. He ridi- culed the idea of spending thousands of pounds every year on the treatment of tuberculosis when the patients had to go back to the very slums in which they had contracted the disease; and declared that it would be better to spend this money on housing reform. Councillor J. Evans (Maesteg) seconding, de- clared that they had in Maesteg rows on rows of the most unsanitary, most unlovely houses, bad for the physique, bad for the morale of the residents, and most unpromis ing for the future of the citizens who had to come to and be bred in such hovels. We could not expect good citi- zens unless we provided the proper environment to produce him. That was why we needed a complete revolution in housing. A housing scheme had been attempted in Maesteg but he did not seem to entertain t.u. h hope of its suc- cess owing to the apathy, if *:ot actual opposi- tion, of the powers that he. ^.ud that was why he wanted the trades union.* i,, and the miners in particular, to take this matter in hand and settle it. There seemed to be insuperable diffi- culties in the way when one thought of tackling the land. The people of the past had spread their tentacles over everything; and those ten- tacles would have to be torn out by the roots. He, too. deplored the representation that was sent to local authorities1 owing to the apathy of the voters. It seemed to him :â crime that these men should be allowed to sacrifice communal life, health and happiness for ,the gratification of their own petty individual selfishnesses. Yet these were the men who unfortunately did get on these bodies. He, too, trusted that the South Wales Trades Union movement was going to make the local authorities move or clear out, even if the methods of the Russian revolution had to be used to secure this end. Councillor J. R. Jones, the pioneer of the Housing Scheme of Neath, said that the best authorities computed a house' shortage at pre- sent of 600,000 in the kingdom; and Mr. Luther had put the South Wales shortage at 40,000. He was not afraid of the apathy or. antagonism of Governments or local authority; what did per- plex him was the apathy and failure to co- operate on the part of the working man. It was from this apathy that the workers must be roused; and that must be the task of each and every delegate. (Cheers.) Mrs. Matt Lewis (Aberdare) referring to the demand for the establishment of committees to take up the question of proper planning by local authorities pressed the claims ^Sf women repre- sentation on those committees, a point on which the conference was as one with her. As she de- clared, it was women who had to spend most of their time in the houses, who were most con- cerned with them, who knew the practical re- quirements, and who, therefor', ought to be called into consultation when housing schemes or building reforms were on the tapis. A miners' delegate in the back of the hall called Conference's attention to the probability that the cost of buildings would be such as to result in rents prohibitive to iust those who stood most urgently in need .tfhetter houses. His lodge ialt that the only feu vk which ought fco be taken into account was the need of the man and his familyâirrespective of his wages or anything else. The cost of building ought to have nothing to do with it at all, and the only way in which this could be met was by making the cost of building a national charge. Mr. Hayward, of the Blaina L.R.C., speaking in much the same strain, advocated the issue of Cl bonds to be issued by municipalities, to be recalled and redeemed from year to year from rentals. This scheme he illustrated as having worked successfully. The Chairman pointed out that the Confer- ence would be asked to pass a resolution calling for a minimum of t5,000,000 to meet this point, and the resolution was carried unanimously. Councillor E. Stonelake (Aberdare) in moving the following resolution declared that there was something wrong with a civilisation which left human beings in exactly the same condition as animals when it came to the question of covering their heads with some little shalter at night:- "Being of opinion that the proper planning of industrial areas in South Wales and Mon- mouthshire is an urgent matter of exceptional importance to the working classes, but owing to the physical characteristics and past develop- ments of the country can only be satisfactorily carried out with the aid of trained experts, this Conference records its conviction that facilities for town planning education should be provided at the University College, Cardiff, as is already done at several of the Universities of England, and urges the Royal Commission on University Education m Wales to recommend the imm I diate provision of such facilities and the alloca- I tion of the necessary Treasury grants for the purpose. The justification for this resolution, he told us, was that the new towns and the so-called gar- den villages were not reflecting a great deal of credit on those responsible for their formation and design. Most of the garden villages of Wales were not worthy of the name. Practi- cally the whole of the larger towns had been compelled to spend millions of pounds on the re- construction of streets badly planned in the past; and we did not want a repetition of this ghastly planning and subsequent expense in the future. The thing in the Wf-y was that there were so many architects and surveyors who thought that they could put things right; but he disagreed from the samples of their work which we all could see. Not only was it that the external designs of the streets and villages were wrong, but the internal arrangements were wrong also. He told the storyâthe story of the Conference this was-of going into one of these new houses which a friend of his had taken and finding the man with a file and his bedstead. He asked what was on, and was told by his friend that he was filing eight inches off his bed to get it into the bedroom. There were bedrooms in housce planned oymodern architects which in order to arrange properly necessitated the filing of We bedsteads down to 5ft. 4ins. It was im- portant that the education advocated in the re- solution should be forthcoming if real housing reform was to be, established. Mr. S. O. Davies (Tumble), seconding, agreed that there were modern houses, in the richest coalfield in the world that wfere an eyesore to the man with the faintest stir of the aesthete sense; and the only cure was the establishment at three ^constituent universities of Wales of chairs for the education in housing and town planning which was necessary to produce ede- quate and satisfactory results. It was the work- ing man that had to produce the material wealth of the world, and ,*ore was no reason why he should be housed as he was. A home should be a proper home, irrespective of the earning capa- cities, or Wages paid to these workers. The resolution was passed with unanimityâ That this Conference is strongly of opinion that the devolution of local government admin- istration from London to Wales would greatly facilitate the solution of such clamant problems as those of housing, town-planning, and rural development; it therefore urges the Govern- ment to establish forthwith in Wales a separate Welsh Local Governmen Board and a separate Welsh Board of -zlgricu?ure, under the presi- dency of a Minister for Wales, who shall be re- sponsible to Parliament." Mr. Chas. Ruthven (Swansea) who, as an architect of great experience, spoke with auth- ority on this matter, carried the Conference all the way with him in making out his case for the above resolution. He pointed out that the physical geography of Wales, the contour and conditions, were entirely different from those obtaining in any part of England, and that from this it must follow that principles of housing and town planning af areas in England would be, and are, totally unsuitable to Wales. Great trouble would be created in the future unless we had capable architects, borough surveyors and engineers in Wales, and not only that, out unless we had also capable people thoroughly understanding Welsh conditions to give sanc- tion to the applications which would give utility to the abilities of the first class. We had prob- lems essential to Wales and foreign to England, and those problems could only be solved by a. Special Area Board being set up to deal with Welsh problems. The problems of intercommu- nication roads from town to town were problems which required very broad and intelligent handling, otherwise we should find after certain limited years we should be faced with those hugely expensive street widening projects with which so many of our towns were, faced to-day. We must ask for local autonomy so that we should have not only expert assistance but per- sonal knowledge of Wales to back up our pro- jects. (Cheers.) Mr. Wm. Harris (the energetic and able poli- tical organiser of the S.W.M.F. in West Mons.) seconding, favoured a Local Government Board for Wales because he believed that if we had a Government department strictly confined to ad- ministrative work in Wales it would have a ten- dency to stir up local authorities which were so very backward regarding their duties and re- sponsibilities. He urged the need to take the broader view of housing reform than had been indicated in the discussion by extending our horizon to the rural area. Housing problems in rural areas were every bit as important as in ihtea aixjaa, and seeing that we could not get. the agricultural labourer on the County Coun- cil or the Rural District Council owing to his unorganised stalo, we required some driving force to make these authorities see to it that the housing conditions of the agricultural la- bourers were really fit and worthy of the people who had to live in them. (Cheers.) Here again Conference was in complete ac- cord with the framers of the resolution. After luncheon we had a pleasant return to the agricultural labourer. This time from Henry R. Aldridge (Secretary of the National Housing and Town Planning Council) who urged the need for a legal and adequate mini- mum wage for the agricultural labourer. He pointed out that if after the war the cost of living returned to mid-way between the 1912 standard and the present standard it would mean the agricultural labourer receiving 25s. a week wage, would for food and housing alone have to pay 22s. 7d., leaving 2s. 5d. for clothes, amusements and other disbursement. A. mini- mum of that kind was not adequateâ(Cheers)â and that was choosing his words carefully. In the Corn Production Billâa sort of bargain be- tween the men in the town and the agricultural industry-the agricultural labourer should be thought of equally with the farmer. (Cheers.) And it was the duty of the townsmen to see that absolutey fair-play was observed in this matter, and, therefore, the Association were asking in a letter which would be sent to every Member of Parliament that the agricultural la- bourers' minimum wage should be a right kind ⢠")(\ or. CYI W&gt? HI UVULU ova. ur OcK3. lit? was not there to say. The agricultural La- bourers' Union had asked for 30s., but he thought they should have asked for 35s.; and if he were an M.P. he would be inclined to table a resolution that it should be 35s. The Stand- ing Orders Committee had considered this mat- ter, and would have allowed it to be brought forward as a special urgency resolution had he pressed, but they felt it would be better, with the approval of the conference, that a special urgency meeting of the Welsh Housing Associa- tion should be called during the next week to endeavour to arouse public opinion in regard to the matter, and to ask every miners' lodge in Wales to pass a resolution to be sent to the Pre- sident of the Board of Agriculture and the Prime Minister asking that the minimum wage should be an adequate one for the agricultural labourer. This was subsequently agreed to by the Con- ference. Proceeding, Mr. Aldridge said he believed that we should secure a large measure of suc- cess in our endeavour to secure attention for the housing of the great mass of the working class at the close of the war. It was, however, obvious that the cost of building would foe so high that the great bulk of the work would have to be undertaken by local authorities; and if necessary this must be made a statutory duty. That was to say, if the supply of houses was short, local authorities must be required under Act of Parliament to build houses to meet the need in this relation. (Cheers.) If building was to be somewhere within the range of prac- tical administrative capacity in the future we must see that the men in the building trade and in the cement works were demobilised quite early in the process of demobilisation, and that the building trade was treated as a key indus- try. That was to say that money instead of being used to build public houses or lordly resi- dences for men who had done well out of the war, should be used to build working-men's houses. (Cheers.) The building trade at the close of the war should oe where the munitions industry was to-day. He believed we should have to put a burden on the whole industry, and use every possible way to see that this work was done. Industrial peace must be established in the building industry, and rings and combines to put up the price on the consumer must be prevented. On the local authorities we must have men alive to the problem, and he begged of us not to take doctrinaire views on this ques- tion, but to bring forward every effort to make the growing river a broad estuary. Mr. Jas. Winstone moved:- "This conference supports the aopeal made by the National Housing and Town Planning Coun- cil and the Welsh Housing and Development As- sociation to the Government to provide ade- quately for housing and town planning action to be taken at the close of the war, and urges the Government to give legislative effect, with the least possible delay, to a National After- the-War Housing Policy, which shall serve the dual purpose of providing healthy homes in dis- tricts where the shortage of houses has become a menace to the health of the community, and of averting any crisis of unemployment which may arise in the building trade at the close of the war. This conference also urges Local Authori- ties to appoint Housing Committees (where these are not already in existence) to make en- quiries as to the housing needs of their areas and, where there is a shortage of housing ac- commodation for the working classes: â (a) To select suitable land in their areas for building houses and, where such land is not already owned by the Local Authority, se- cure options for the purchase of the same, such options to be exercised at the close oi the war. (b) Plan out such land on town planning lines, decide upon the types and designs of houses to be built, have specifications drawn up and, generally, make all detailed prepara- tions so that when the time is opportune after the conclusion of the war, the work of build- ing houses can be started without avoidable delay. Further, "this conference recommends Associations of Workmen to petition the Local Authorities of their respective districts to take action on the lines suggested above. The Chairman and Mr. Lovet Frazer, said Mr. Winstone, were the two men who had done more to forward housing reform than any other men in Wales, and under their sound guidance and enthusiasm the great project would even- tually be brought to fruition. Coming to the resolution he described it as part of the Social salvation of the people we all desired so much. It was the basis of all effort to provide room for tjfe people to live. (Cheery.) ?vo one had a greater right to a good and comfortable house, and good and comfortable home environ- ments than they who did the work of the world. (Cheers.) We were out to destroy the slime and the slum. Income was very import- ant, but it was not everything, the idea must be got into the minds of the whole people that there was no wealth but life, and that that country is the richest that nurtured the great- est number of high minded, happy-hearted hu- manooings. (I I come," said the Great Mas- ter, that ye may have life and have it imore abundantly," and that was the purpose of the conference, toe. He was one of those believed that the satisfactory solution of the housing problem was of so much importance that we must pay strict attention to this one point. The importance of good houses was equal to that of the British Navy at the present time. We were out not only to abolish overcrowding in the houses, but also to abolish overcrowding on the land. (Cheers.) And we were out to do this because these things were the chief cause of the awful wastage in the infant life of the nation. Over 100,000 children died each year between the ages of one and five, and 60,000 of the 6,000,000 children attending elementary schools had the germs of consumption in their systems in a de- finite form, although all but a very slight per- centage were born free from them. This 60.000 and many more thousands of suffering children were in the main the children of the men and women producing every necessity and providing every luxury, and, therefore, they were entitled to a better state of affairs than .was indicated by these statistics. (Cheers.) The Chairman said that he was tempted to say that this was exactly the kind of speech that Lord Rhondda had been delivering since he went to the Local Government Board; and when we had two men who had faced each other so often saying the same thing, surely the signs were good. (Cheers.) Mr. Wm. Williams (President, South Wales Building Federation), seconding, said the prob- lem was acute to-day because in the past hous- ing had been a game of chance. The men who had tackled the problem in the past had been the speculative builder, generally with scarcely anything in his pocket, and the landlord whose only hope was to get the best possible bid for his land. The building of houses for sale and not for habitation was building for the return of gold, and it was the poor quality of such work that imposed such heavy burdens on the local authorities subsequently. That was the key to the position. The whole pressure of the workers must be brought to bear on local auth- orities until the latter went forward in this mat- (Continued on Page 4, Column 4).

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