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SOUTH WALES HOUSING PROBLEM Glaring Facts Mr. Edgar Chappell's Vision I At the monthly meeting of the Western I Miners at Swansea, on Saturday, the i Chairman said he ha,d pleasure in introducing Mr Edgar L. Chappell, secre- tary of the South Wales Garden Cities and Town Planning Association. He was sure they all sym- pathisoo with the object he had in view, and he hoped his address would be of great value and help to the delegates, and that good would be accomplished as a result. He was glad that the efforts made by Mr Cha-ppell had succeeded to some extent, in arousing the interest of the workers to a sense of their rcsponsi- bility in this important question, but much yet remained to be done. STIRRING UP REBELLION Mr Chappell, who had a cordial recep- tion, said he was still at the same old to stir up rebellion in the hearts of the worker&- (ar. plau&e). His efforts at present were directed to arous- ing Trade Unionists in all parts of South Wales to the irnporta,noe of the Housing and other question as part and parcel of their propaganda. Mo&t^of the miners' i and other Trade. Unionists had been de- j voting themselves almost entirely to in- dustrial questions, and the possibilities of incre.a.sing w ages. Whilst, they were en- deavouring ,to increase wages, the pur- chasing power of those wages was getting lower and lower, as was seen in the in- creasing of rents and the prices of other commodities. He wanted them to realize the necessity of not only increasing their wages, but of increasing the purchasing power of those wages--(hear, hear). SHORTAGE OF 25,000 HOUSES IN SOUTH WALES. One of the chief reasons why rents v/ere going up was because of the scarcity of dwellings in South Wales. They suffered more from a shortage of houses in South Wales than any other part, of the Kingdom. In no other coalfield in the Kingdom had private enterprise been so inadequate to meet the demands of the population. The shortage of houses was between 20,000 and 25,000 houses in South Wales, and whenever there existed a shortage of houses thev had high rents. That was why he wanted Trade Union- ists to take an interest in the Housing Question. They were endeavouring to link up this Association with the Trade Union Moye- ment Co-operative Societies, Clubs, and all corts of organisations controlled by the workers in order that" they could or- ganise meetings, housing propaganda campaigns, conferences, letcurcs, etc. PIT HEAD BATHS. There was not a single colliery in South Wales which had carried out the scheme of pit head baths under the Coal Mines Regulation Act of 1911, and there was only one colliery in the whole country which had adopted the system. If the pit head Ibaths system was adopted at the various collieries, there would be an immense saving of labour to the women. They were, often told of the "sweating" which went on in the dens of London, but there were women in the colliery districts of South Wales who were sweated in- finitely worse than the women in the dens of London. Yet what were the facts? They had only to ask the colliery proprietors to install pit head baths, and they would have to do so. The cost to the men would only be lid. per week, and the saving in soap and towels would be worth more than that. Besides that, there would a saving of labour to the women. He was convinced that there should be a pit head bath at every col- liery, if only for the sake of the women, alone. A tremendous amount of ignor- axice existed amongst colliers as to what pit head baths were. He had been told in one place that it meant a large swimming bath. (Laughter). THE CONTINENTAL SYSTEM. Those which were in use in Germany, Belgium and France were really magni- ficent. As soon as the men finished work, after they came to the surface they went into a cubicle and stripped, and then allowed warm water to stream over them. The Association he represented would be only too pleased to send lecturers to meetings arranged by any committee, and the lectures would be illustrated Dy lantern elides. All the local committees would be asked to do would be to ar- range the meetings, and nay the out-of- pocket expenses of the lecturers. The lectures would illustrate the disadvant- ages of the present system, and the ad- vantages of the system which might be adopted. BETTED ADMINISTRATION WANTED. In Gower, almost all believed in Land Reform. The 1909 Town Planning Act gave power to the people to say how many housed should be built on each acre, and in respect of tlto* laying out of open spaces, parks, bowline greens, recreation grounds, sites for publIc buildings, etc. Local authorities ooiild adopt that Act and possess the powers conforredj but up to the present only one authority in Wale?—Wrexham—had done so. The people ought to be told what could be done under existing legislation. It waa useless to send men to the House of Com- motis to get these Act placed upon the I>?gislative books When they neglected to have those Acts administered. The Association was prepared to oo- oprrate with all classes of people in order to carry out the objects they had in view. He had succeeded iai obtaining financial assistance from many wealthy people. WORKING WOMEN AND TENNIS. They wanted better facilities for the workers to enjoy life. Why, for instance, should not the working class woman play tennis? As things were now, tennis was left to teachers and clerks. Colliers had just es much right to play cricket as any other class of men. They wanted recrea- tion grounds for the children, and bowl- ing greens for the men, and tennis grounds for the women. What was re- quired was that colliers should take up these questions, and plead for them just as they did for increases of wages. They ought to compel the local authorities to build houses. If they required 100 houses in any locality, the building of ten houses should not be looked upon as a solution of the pTblem. If the Trade Unionists of South Wa'es awakened in all their strength, no authority would dare resist their demands. At the present time the L.G. B. were stirring all its activities in getting local authorities to build houses, but the local authorities, in many in- stances, would not take action. How authorities to take action They must awaken public opinion, in addition to placing their representatives on the Coun- cils. Better houses, in the long run would mean less expenditure on medicines and tuberculosis hospitals and similar insti- tutions. How could they as a District co-operate? They, like other Districts of the Miners' Federation, could affiliate with the Association. He (the speaker), wanted to see the Trade Unions assisting the movement financially, and in the work of arranging meetings, lectures, etc. Their propaganda was ir. tended to assist the working clasps, and no one in South Wales would benefit more than would the working classes when tho ob jects of the Associa- tion were attained. By the payment of JS2 2s. Od. the District would have the privelege of electing a representative on the Council of the Association so that they would be able to assist in controlling the Association. AN EXCELLENT SUGGESTION. He asked the delegates to go back to their lodges and endeavour to induce their members to become affiliated with the Association, and also to arrange meet- ings to which tho Association would send speakers. The holding of their annual demonstrations also gave them an oppor- tunity of dealing with the housing ques- tion, instead of taking up the whole of the time dealing with industrial and political questions. If the miners of South Wales, at their annual demonstrations, only voiced a. demand for better housing conditions, they would create such an atmosphere that no local authority would refuse to take action when approached. The provision of pit head baths, the ques- tion of the administration of the Poor Law, Housing, etc., were apart from their political and industrial matters, but they wore important. By publicly dealing with these matters they would stir up the authorities to do work.—(Applause). The Copper Pit Delegate Why is it that there is such a scarcity of houses in South Wales? THE REASON FOR THE SCARCITY. Mr Chappell During the last 10 years South Wales has developed more rapidly than any other industrial area in the country, with the result that most of the available capital has gone into industrial and shipping concerns. In addition to less capital, we are the victims of our own geography. All our collieries are situa.-ted in valleys. The floor of the valley is usually taken up by a railway or canal, and in every case, a river. In many cases houses have to be built upon tips and upon the hillsides, and they cannot be built as cheaply on the hillside as they can be built on the Hat. Excavations again, cost money. Those a,re the chief reasons why we are worse off, but the third reason is that we suffer from the leasehold land system, different from other parts of the country, because the amount of available building land is naturally restricted, and the landlords have a greater monopoly, and are thus able to charge higher rents. Then there is another reason. Nearly every other shop we come to in the main streets of our large towns is a multiple shop, and the same thing applies to the building industry at the present time, and. negotia- tions are at present on foot in London to form a combine with a capital of JS100,000,000 (one hundred millions, sterl- ing). Drain pipes have doubled in price during the last two years; cement has gone up 10s. per ton since the last coal strike, snd there have been increases in the pricps of other commrdities. We are told that these increases are, due to the Insurance and Compensation Acta, and also because of the increase in the cost of labour. That is all nonsense. It is due to the fact that the whole building trade I is controlled by combines. I NEED FOR EDUCATION, local authorities can borrow money cheaper than private enter- prise can borrow it. At Letchworth, two years ago a house waa built which cost £ 150, and later another similar house in every respect w as built, but the ccet had increased to j3180. This is due to the octopus of capitalism, aid the Miners' Federation, in common with other Trade Unions, will have to educate the public who are not aware of these things. APATHY AND INDIFFERENCE In reply to Mr W. Morgan, Mr Chappell stated that Mrs. Bruce GlasieT had written a pamphlet dealing with pit head baths, which should be read by every miner. If the miners of South Wales would nots lake advantage of the privelegee they possessed, why should Parliament be asked for others! There were at least three colliery companies in Wales which would, install ptt head baths if the employees would ask them to do so. Surely men would not refuse to ask for baths, because it would cost them lid. per week-the price of a glass of beer. Men who came to the District meetings as delegates, and \he better class of workers, were all agreed as to the ad- vantages of pit head baths, but amongst the men employed at the collieries there was a large amount of apathy and in- difference, and if these people could be induced to come to the lectures they would see how healthy and convenient the baths were. At Mardy they were taking & ballot on the question, whilst at Aber- sychan they had already taken action, but those were the only two collieries in South Wales where anything had been done. Mr W. Morgan, No. 3 Garngoch, said they had approached their owners on the point, but had been told that the colliery was not likely to laat 10 years. CONSERVATIVE MINERS Mr Chappell said it was a fact that the miners of South Wales were very con- servative, i.e., they were opposed to change, and that could only be cured bv means of education. Lectures would help in that direction. A hearty vote of thanks waa proposed to Mr Chappell for his excellent adi yress on the motion of the Copper Pit dele- gate, seconded by Mr Elias Davies. The latter said it was quite time the miners fit the Western District did someth-ing to return considerably more Labour men on local bodies than they had done. They had been preaching that for the last 15 years. More attention had been paid in getting Acta passed than ha.d been paid in the administration of those Acts when passed. It was useless asking for more legislation when they had as much as they could go on with. The miners in West Glamorgan should pay more atten- tion to getting men of their own class upon local authorities instead of elect- ing retired grocers, contractors and house owners to serve upon such bodies. Most of these people sought to be members of such bodies for the express purpose of keeping the rents of their property pp to the highest level. In the 'district to which he belonged, the local authority was practically governed bv people who owned house property. The people of the district could not see that it would be to their advaiitage for the authority to build houses for the people. (Continued at bottom of next column.)