24 SEPTEMBER 1932, Page 13


SPECTATOR.] SIR,—May I endorse the thesis of Major Nathan's letter in your issue of September 17th on Local Authorities and Building Societies ? He goes to the heart of a very important problem.

In these day=s the need for economy in public expenditure, including that by Local Authorities, is of undeniable urgency. This cannot be achieved easily and, indeed, it is only by taking wide views and examining alternative approaches to every problem that any progress will be made. This especially applies to hotising. I hope, therefore, that my intervention will not be regarded as inspired by a sectional view-point.

Admittedly, a case could be made for Local Authorities' expenditure on housing during the earlier phases of the housing shortage. But, since the housing position is in large part now approximating to normal, this case to-day is virtually non-existent, although the pressing and perplexing problem of providing adequate and proper accommodation for the lower-paid workers, together with the allied problem of slum clearance, remains.

The case for the- Building Society—if I may summarize it in a sentence—is that it is a specialist in assisting home- ownership, and to confine specialized business to specializing institutions is a practice in keeping with current economic tendencies. Above all, it would result in a very necessary curtailment of Local Authorities' expenditure and the employment of the country's financial resources to the best advantage.—I am, Sir, &c., Baker Street, N.W.1. HAROLD BLI.I.MAN.