CEISTEANNA—QUESTIONS. - HOUSES FOR WORKING CLASSES (STATE AID).

To ask the Minister for Local Government if it is intended to continue to give State aid to Municipal Authorities to enable them to build houses for the working classes.

The Provisional Government have provided a grant of one million pounds in aid of Municipal Housing. The Scheme of the Ministry of Local Government has been taken up by 77 of the 94 urban authorities, and the proposals include 1,985 houses. There is no intention on the part of the Government of withdrawing the Grant; on the other hand they are doing everything possible to expedite the building of houses.

My point is will the Government continue to give State aid, to the end of the next financial year, because I think the Minister will recognise the advantage there is in the way of acquiring of sites and other preliminaries, if we were sure of the striking of rates for the next financial year.

I think with the permission of the Dáil I would like to answer that question as I have had a good deal to do with Local Government. It would be impossible to foreshadow to what extent Government assistance would be forthcoming next year. Some assistance will be forthcoming, but the assistance will be relative to the increased cost of building over the pre-war cost. That, however, should not interfere with or limit to any extent the operations of Local Authorities in acquiring land or making the other plans for schemes in the coming year.

That is my point, if there is not State aid forthcoming at all, because the President will realise that the economic rent of the house built entirely without State aid would be an impossible proposition altogether.

I anticipate there will be some State aid, if we can get the money.

The total amount that was voted has not yet been spent; it has not even been allocated. A certain amount was held for allocation, but the Urban Councils have not taken up the scheme. That will be available for division amongst those who have expended the amount allocated to them and want more.