11 APRIL 1903, Page 24

A Housing Handbook. By W. Thompson. (National Housing Reform Council.

6s. net.)—This volume contains many useful facts and figures ; but we should not call it a "handbook." It is a powerful statement of the case for housing reform, but not a few of its contentions are disputed, whereas it is with the indisputable that the handbook proper has to deal. Chap. 20," for instance, contains various proposals for meeting the cost of housing artisans. These are very like Socialism. Cheap land, low railway fares, exemption of workmen's dwellings from rates and taxes, taxation of land values, a surtax on the Death-duties for municipal purposes, are all highly disputable suggestions. To the most difficult problem, rural housing, no contribution of real value is made. The Penshurst experiment does not apply. Rents of five shillings a week are out of the question. Even the half-a-crown suggested in the narrative of the Ixworth cottage building is too much, being double, or more than double, what the agricultural labourer can afford. Eighteenpence would be a high average. In one matter we heartily agree with Mr. Thompson, —viz., that the building by-laws of the District Councils need revision.