HC Deb 27 March 1934 vol 287 cc1782-3

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland how many State-aided houses were under construction in Scotland in March, 1933; the number under construction at present; and what is the cause of the decline?


The number of State-assisted houses under construction by local authorities and private enterprise in Scotland at the 31st March, 1933, was 23,503. Figures for March, 1934, are not yet available. For purposes of comparison I give figures for February of 1933 and 1934. These were 22,315 and 16,446, respectively. With regard to the second part of the question, the hon. Member will recollect that local authorities are at present concentrating upon programmes for slum clearance. These are not sufficiently advanced to be reflected in the houses under construction at 28th February, but the tenders approved for new construction are now showing the effect of this activity, the number of tenders approved for February, 1934, under the Act of 1930 being 1,122 compared with 334 in February, 1933.


Is the hon. Gentleman satisfied with the progress that is being made with house-building in Scotland, seeing that we have tens of thousands of builders unemployed, and tens of thousands of people who want houses?


I am satisfied that the State must concentrate upon the most important topic first, and we think that that is slum clearance. We are now considering further efforts with regard to overcrowding. With regard to the ordinary provision of houses, may I say that there has been a continuous increase in the number of unassisted private enterprise houses, the figures being 1,726 for 1932, and 5,570 for 1933. I cannot go further than that.