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TOWN HILL. I Matter Left to I Housing Committee I I XMAS EVE DEBATE I I Appalling Distress in Swansea. The extraordinary position resulting from I the stoppage or work by the contractors on the 150 houses under construct ion at I Town Hill, occupied the attention of the Swansea Council on Christmas Eve. A special meeting of the Swansea Conn- I cil to.jk place on Christmas Eve, the Mayor <Aki. A. Sinclair) presiding, and I he said that in consequence of the a b- normal situation which had arisen in fe- I qard to the housing question, he consid- ered it his duty to call the meeting. It was not usual, he knew, but the questions, involved were, undoubtedly, of very great i importance to Swansea. The Towa Clerk eaid that another ¡ matter could be dealt with at that meet- I ing instead of being relegated to the next. Council, and that was whether they I would agree to the resolution passed by the Cardiff Electricity Conference recom- meding the formation of a district coun- ) cil ior South V/ülos and Monmouthshire (to be part of the National Whitley Coun- cil on the subject) on electricity supplies. On the motion of Councillor Edward Harris, seconded by Major Pollard, it was decided to agree to the suggestion for the formation of such a district council. Ail ¡ the employes engaged in the electridty I supply departments would be embraced j by such a council. t TOWN HJLL HOUSING. I The Mayor further moved that fb tor I mation oi a council tor South Wales and j Monmouthshire tor non-trading parts of i council* throughout the district be re- commended.—This was also agreed to. Upon the main subject before the Coun- I ci 1 it was originally move dhy Councillor ¡ Mol* yneux that the Press be asked to "£1-1 tire and the proceedings made private, and the Town Clerk stating that there would be leyal aspects of the discussions 1 to follow.—Mr. Loveli seconded. Councillor T. Me ml is considered that the Press should be allowed to rema in I in view of the fact that the matter was I one of the greatest public interest, a That the Prs he asked to rofrain from reporting that part of the business which involved legal questions. I Councillor Molyneux withdrew his motion, subject to the understanding that anything tending towards the legal as- pects of the situation should not be toucher! uoon. SU B-CONTRACTI NG. t The Town Clerk tliert»ui>on suftmittt'd his report of the visit to London and the interview with Sir James Carmiclmel. He suggested that the Ministry of Nealth desired to beg the question of sub-con- trading-they did not want to deal with i: if they could help it—but they pointrd out that in different parts of the country schemes were being carried out practically under thevsame circumstances as the con- tractors wanted in tl" i,,i case. Whether it was sub-contracting or not, the Ministry Iaskeji the Council to consent to contrac- tors doing the work in the way thev pro-. posed, and mad* a strong appeal to the parties in view of the national urcrenc,. I to assist the Council by foregoing their principle in that on" case, so that the work of erecting the houses could lie pro- ceeded with. DIRECT ADMINISTRATION. I Sir James (continued the Town Clerk) I s-,Aifl that the Government, had Dot onC into the policy of houses btiiig erected by direct administration, hut he was prepared to recommend the Government to consent to the policy for a fkfiniie number of houses, the Corpora- tion to obtain the same financial assist- ance as they would secure if the houses were built by contract, and subject to the Work bput? Nmducted on a system of ap- proved costings, and at a maximum price approved of by the Ministry. Councillor Mi!l?r said that it appeared that the operatives were going to stand by their principle. The Mayor stated that he certainly thought that the whole question hinged on whether the operatives were going to say yea or nay on the matter of sub- contra^tihg. Councillor Harry Griffiths suggestNl that the best ctfUfSC would be to ask the .operatives to waive their objection under the unusual circumstances. APPALLING DISTRESS. I Councillor Molyneux said that the question of whether it was sub-contract- ing or not was undoubtedly a debatable one, but there would have to be a defi- nite policy. "Cc::d only knows," he ex- claimed, "tho distress in Swansea to- day as a result of the lack fef housing IS simply appalling. I inunaated day after day with appeals for housing, ana I want to get on with the work. Le appealed for the sympathy of the Coun- cil in tackling the difficult problem, and suggested that they should give the Housing Committee the power to get on with the work by whatever means they could.. Councillor T. Merrells said he did not think that they could ask the operatives present (a deputation representing them were present in tho Council Chamber) to recommend their fellows to waive their objections to the difficulties at all. There were two sides to the c iiestioii-both the master builders and the operatives had to be taken into account. Before they could be asked to waive there should be the mutual consent of poth parties so that their position should not be preju- diced with the builders. He certa-inty felt- that the question should be put jointly to tho parties who made the agreement. Nevertheless they quite realised the im- portance of Councillor Molyneus's words nh at the distress due to bad housing, and nobody knew it batter than the operatives who were themselves in need of houses. Rut they had a principle at stake that had taken many years of suffering to ùl)- tain. They had to be absolutely certain that any such arrangement should not form a precedent. QUESTION OF WAIVING. Councillor Hy. Griffiths said tnat it ippeaied to Iiiiii, that the only way out of the difficulty was for the contractors to go on with the work, and the only way ;hey could do that would he by the opera- ires waiving their objections. This was particular case, and unless they could Ind a solution the people of Swansea were ;cing to be mulcted in higher rate. Councillor T. J. Richards said the con- litions under which the old contract had 1 beea made had been revised, and a new ,uk had been made the basis, without, ;he knowledge of the Corporation. Councillor H. Thomas said that tie question be fore the council now seemed o me: whether the contractors were go- ng to get on with the houses there and I hen. or whether they were going to get I ,nl)thf-r contractor, or whether they would j provide houses by direct administration. Councillor David Williams said that with regar,-? \(J the suggestion that the •fieratix-rjs should waive their objection.) 1. n' I. 11' 1. I fte 'snrinUv would resent being asked j 'ar>fb: n a principle. Still as they were t ajMMut ikA cxmacil tfcey gihcirW ba in a position to say how the feeling of their members was on the matter. It was an involved problem, but no purpose could I' be served by sitting there all the after- noon debating. Dr. G. A. Stephens appealed to tho Mayor, saying, Can we not .have a reso- lution before the Council to know definitely its position? I LEFT- TO HOUSING COMMITTEE. I Aid. D. Matthews, M.P., said that un- doubtedly if what Councillor Richards had said was true the Council were in a serious position. A long discussion now followed on what were the exact terms of the Council reso- lution which referred the matter to the Housing Committee to deal with. Aid. D. Matthews moved that the matter be referred to the Housing Com- mittee to meet all the parties and discuss the question on the lines mentioned by Councillor Merrells, and report to a special meeting of the Council. Aid. Ivor Gwynne said that the kind of i remarks seemed to indicate to him that ¡ the Council were leaving the onus of the question upon the operatives notwith- standing the fact that the Council had I already decided that there was sub- contracting. Councillor Merrells reiterated his con- viction that the only solution was be- tween the operatives, master builders. &nd the Housing Committee. Further di.seu>ion ensued, in vha it was made obvious that the Council re- cognised that there was sub-contracting- Coun. W. H. Harding said that the builders and operatives alone could de- cide the meaning of the self-contracting clause. A series of resolutions now appeared to be before the Council, and at length a motion by Aid. James to the effect that the matter be referred to the Housing Committee to negotiate and rll-.)rt was carried. PASSIVE AGREEMENT. I An amendment followed, moved by I Coun. Cohvill, seating that the contractors be called upon to complete the contract, and in the event of their failure to com- ply, that the Corporation take steps to I continue the work by direct administra- I tion. The Town Clerk, however, said that the contractors had already been instructed to carry on with the work immediaMyt. At the last Council meeting the Housing Committee had been given a free hand to I' do what they considered necessary, sub- ject to the fact that they' may not agree, jto 1 ub-con'tractlng. I The general understanding of the situ- ¡ ation now was that no dec'sion had been i reached, except'passive agreement to the I motion leaving the matter to the Housing Tilot.)n le.,Iv ing the M!atter to the ITolisilig The meeting lasted over two hours and a half.



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