HC Deb 06 March 1934 vol 286 cc1636-7

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what action has been taken by the Stirlingshire County Council and the Department of Health to provide better housing accommodation for the inhabitants of Stand-burn, Stirlingshire, who lodged a petition under the 1930 Act against the failure of the Stirlingshire County Council to provide them with good houses?


A public local inquiry into the housing conditions in Standburn was held on the 15th and 16th January, and the Commissioner inspected the houses on the 29th January. His report has now been submitted, and is under consideration.


Is not this Commission taking far too long to make its report, seeing that it is a month since it sat, and that that time it was horrified—the Chairman used that expression—at the conditions which prevailed?


The Commissioner, as I have stated in my answer, has submitted his report, and that report is now under consideration. I may add that there will be no unnecessary delay at all in the matter.


asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether he has considered the communication from the Association of County Councils in Scotland expressing the view that private enterprise cannot under existing conditions provide houses in Scotland to be let to the working classes at reasonable rentals, and that the provisions of the Housing (Financial Provisions) Act, 1933, will not enable local authorities to supply the houses needed; and whether he intends to introduce proposals to amend the Act, or in any other way to encourage the erection of houses to be let at rentals within the means of low-paid wage-earners?


The answer to the first part of the question is in the affirmative. With regard to the second, the Housing (Financial Provisions) (Scotland) Act, 1933, did not become law until the build- season for 1933 was well advanced, and while its effect in stimulating private enterprise has so far been slight, further experience, in my right hon. Friend's view, must be gained before it can be said that it will prove ineffective for that purpose, or that private builders cannot supply houses for the working classes at reasonable rents. The question of instituting further measures to abate overcrowding, for which subsidies are provided under the Act referred to, and under the Act of 1930, is at present receiving the attention of the Government.


When are we likely to have a decision on the point, in view of the urgent need of more houses for low-paid wage-earners?


I cannot add to the statement that I have made.