HC Deb 19 March 1935 vol 299 cc988-9

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland (1), whether he is aware that the Department of Agriculture has now decided to take action on the bad housing conditions at Terregles smallholdings colony, Kirkcudbrightshire: and, as the proposals made for granting loans are such that it will be economically impossible for the smallholdings to accept them, what steps he intends to take in the matter;

(2), whether he is aware that a loan granted in connection with housing at Terregles, Kirkcudbrightshire, in 1923–24 of £560 when the bank rate was 5 per cent. is being repaid by an annuity of £11 2s., and that the proposed loans in 1935 for £415 when the bank rate is 1 per cent. are to be repaid at £16 10s. annually; and whether he will endeavour to have this matter rectified by reduction in rates of interest and extension of period of repayment;

(3) whether he is aware that the new houses at Terregles are required to replace slums created by the Department of Agriculture for Scotland 10 years ago; and whether he will extend the facilities of subsidy or grant equal to those provided to replace privately-owned slums to smallholders which will enable them to house their families decently?

The SECRETARY of STATE for SCOTLAND (Sir Godfrey Collins)

The Department of Agriculture for Scotland are taking action to replace certain houses at Terregles which were on the estate when it was acquired by the Department. An exceptional lowering of the rate of interest to 1¼ per cent. coupled with a lengthening of the period of repayment from 50 to 80 years was authorised in the early years after the War because of the high costs of building construction but this practice was modified in 1933 following a very material reduction in building costs. The terms on which building loans have been offered in connection with the replacement of the older buildings at Terregles are those which are normally now offered and accepted in similar cases. I am satisfied that these terms (namely, interest at 3⅛ per cent. and repayment in 50 years) are not unduly burdensome on the holders and are such as should properly be accepted.