CHILDREN'S RENT ALLOWANCES [To the Editor of the SPECTATOR.]
Srit,—Mr. W. L. Hare's letter in your issue of February 22nd launches a violent attack on children's rent allowances. Mr. Hare " takes his stand " on a series Of propositions which completely exclude any new building with the exception of " re-housing on the site where necessary," and yet he must know that the worst feature of the housing problem to-day is the appalling overcrowding which exists throughout the country. I affirm without any hesitation that •Mr. Hare's proposals cannot possibly do anything to get the children out of the slums. The astonishing thing is that he utterly fails to perceive that the crux of the slum problem is the building of new houses to be let at rents which the slum- dweller can pay.
I believe that the best way of providing these houses is by means of a children's rent allowance, and I am much strengthened in this belief by the fact that the Committee of the National Housing and Town Planning Council, which was responsible for "A Policy for the Slums" and included thirty experienced persons representing all branches of housing, began their labours on the slum problem with a prejudice similar to Mr. Hare's against• children's rent allow- ances. After intensive study of the matter for some months they unanimously signed the report recommending children's rent allowances.
So far as my experience goes, everybody I have met who has seriously studied the question as to what is the most economical way of getting the two million children out of the slums has come to the same conclusion—children's rent allowances. The only exceptions I know are your two correspondents, Mr. Hare and Mr. Townroe, and they offer no alternative constructive policy. If we listen to them there is no hope for the children in the slums. • Mr. Hare accuses me of ignoring the importance of town planning and of garden cities. I venture to say that I do nothing of the kind ; nobody would be more pleased to see many garden cities in the making. But Mr. Hare knows as well as anybody what an uphill struggle Welwyn and Letch- worth are having ; to refuse to take any other action in the hope that the slum population of London may somehow be transferred to garden cities is to condemn that population to remain where they are indefinitely—I am, Sir, &c.,
20 Mount Street, Manchester. E. D. SIMON.