Appropriation Accounts, 1958-59. - Housing (Amendment) Bill, 1960—Second Stage.

I move that the Bill be now read a Second Time.

This is a simple Bill to extend the time for the completion of works in respect of which grants are payable under the Housing Acts. These works comprise the erection, reconstruction or repair and improvement of dwelling houses and the provision of private water supplies and sewerage facilities.

The effective provision of the Bill is contained in Section 2 which provides for an extension from the 1st April, 1960, to the 1st April, 1962, of the date for the completion of work so as to qualify for payment of any appropriate grant. No changes in the amounts of the grants are proposed.

A comprehensive housing measure, consolidating the provisions of the Labourers Acts and the Housing of the Working Classes Acts in a single code and including amendments of the existing codes is in course of preparation. The grant and other relevant provisions appropriate to private housing are also proposed to be consolidated in a single measure when a suitable opportunity presents itself. I have therefore decided to limit my immediate proposals to a simple continuing measure which, from the very beginning of the new financial year, will enable private persons to plan for the carrying out of house-building and house-improvement works in the next two years, with the knowledge that grants will be available at the rates and on the conditions that have prevailed for the last two years.

The Housing (Amendment) Act, 1958, provided for increased scales of grants for the reconstruction, repair and improvement of houses, the provision of sanitary services——

On a point of order, it was agreed that this should be dealt with on a purely formal basis. If the Minister for Local Government continues as he is going, the agreement is broken and does not hold.

That is not my fault.

Possibly the Deputy might appreciate that it was not until 11 o'clock last night that I heard of this formal agreement and what I have here was already prepared.

There is no need to read it. If the Minister is to read that document, he will start a discussion. It was at his request that this agreement was made. He wants the measure.

I do not mind, if it is felt that what I am now reading is not necessary——

You will start a discussion straight away.

I do not intend to start a discussion. I am telling the House that I heard of this agreement only last night. If the House does not like to have the statement and if it suits the House for me to say formally "I move", I am quite satisfied.

That is all.

We shall discuss it on the Estimate. That is what we agreed to do.

Question put and agreed to.
Agreed to take remaining Stages today.