HC Deb 30 November 1937 vol 329 cc1859-63
17. Major Neven-Spence

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether he is aware that 47 boxes of whether he fresh fish, shipped from Scalloway on Wednesday, 17th November, which should have reached Glasgow on Friday, 19th November, had not reached Aberdeen by Saturday, 20th November; and whether, in view of the fact that Scalloway is only 12 hours from Aberdeen by a 15-knot steamer, and that the Shetland fishermen complain that they suffer heavy losses every winter through the inadequacy of the steamer service, he will cause an investigation to be made into the whole question of transport as it affects the prosperity of Orkney and Shetland and the Scottish islands?

The Secretary of State for Scotland (Mr. Elliot)

I am informed that the consignment of fish referred to in the question reached Aberdeen in the early morning of Saturday, 10th November, and was placed in cold storage at Glasgow on that evening. The delay in arrival of the steamer at Aberdeen was due, I am informed, to stormy weather which caused a general hold-up of shipping. As regards the last part of the question, a sub-committee of the Scottish Economic Committee is at present engaged in examining the economic conditions of the Highlands and Islands and I do not see occasion, in present circumstances, for considering such an investigation as is suggested by my hon. and gallant Friend.

Mr. Johnston

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that we had precisely the same difficulties on the West Coast with a private enterprise service until his predecessor got a public utility corporation established with a limitation of dividend and a State director, and that since then those troubles have been obviated? Could he not do the same thing for Orkney and Shetland?

Mr. Elliot

I do not think that point arises out of the question.

Mr. Malcolm MacMillan

Is the right hon. Gentleman not aware that before any committee was set up these complaints were proven, and that it was well known that the service was absolutely inadequate for these islands?

Mr. J. J. Davidson

Can the Minister say when we may expect the report of the Scottish Economic Committee?

Mr. Elliot

I could not say, but it will be at the end of this year, or at the beginning of next year.

18. Mr. Westwood

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland the total number of houses approved for grant for Scotland for the first six months of 1936 and the total number approved for grant for the first six months of 1937, and giving the numbers approved for grant under the Housing (Scotland) Act, 1930, for each of these respective periods with the average grant per house?

Mr. Elliot

The Department of Health approved tenders for 9,782 State-assisted houses in the first six months of 1936, and for 11,029 houses in the corresponding period of 1937. I regret that I cannot say how many of these houses will be subsidised under the Act of 1930, as the allocation of houses to a particular Act for subsidy purposes is determined, not at the approval stage, but according to the use to which the houses are put when completed. The average grant per house in respect of houses completed during the half-year ended the 15th May, 1936, and allocated to the Act of 1930, is £12 7s. 3d., and according to claims so far submitted to the Department the figure for the corresponding period in 1937, is £13 8s. 6d.

Mr. Westwood

Is it possible to tell us the number of houses allocated under the Act of 1930 for a different period than the one for which I asked?

Mr. Elliot

I will look into that point and let the hon. Member know.

22. Mr. M. MacMillan

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland how many State-assisted houses in the Outer Islands built since 1931 have inside water supply; how many of those have lavatories; and how many have bathrooms?

Mr. Elliot

All of the 161 houses erected with State assistance by local authorities in the Outer Islands since 1st January, 1931, have inside water supplies, water closets and bathrooms. Of the 235 State-assisted houses erected by private enterprise since that date, 38 have these facilities.

23. Mr. Stephen

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland the number of applications for houses which have been received by the housing department of the Glasgow Corporation for each year since 1933; the number of applications which have been granted in each year; and the number of cases where the application has been before the corporation authority for three years or more without result?

Mr. Elliot

As the answer involves a number of figures, I propose, with the hon. Member's permission, to circulate it in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Following is the answer:

1. Applications for the tenancy of houses belonging to the Corporation of Glasgow.

Year Number of applications received Number of houses let.
1933 12,944 4,224
1934 9,167 6,810
1935 10,710 5,383
1936 12,715 3,959
1937 10,286 2,641

2. Approximate number of applications still before the corporation which are three or more years old, 45,000.*

*It is estimated that at least half of these cases are not eligible for corporation houses.

24. Mr. Stephen

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland how many houses under the slum-clearance provisions are to be provided in the Borrowfield area of the Camlachie Parliamentary Division; and whether, in view of the bad housing conditions in this part of Glasgow, he will take steps to expedite the provision of houses for the people living in such housing conditions?

Mr. Elliot

I am informed that the corporation are preparing plans for approximately 550 houses in the Borrowfield area to accommodate tenants from unfit or overcrowded houses. I shall continue to keep in close touch with the corporation to secure that the provision of houses to meet the needs of people living under such conditions is expedited as much as possible.

Mr. Charles Williams

Can the right hon. Gentleman say why this particular corporation are so backward? Are they competing with the Socialist Council in London?

25. Mr. Stephen

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what assistance the sanitary department of the Glasgow Corporation are prepared to give to tenants of houses in Glasgow infested by bugs and swarming with rats and beetles; and whether the department has ratcatchers on their staff whose services are available in such cases?

Mr. Elliot

I am informed that while the sanitary department of Glasgow Corporation does not itself undertake the disinfestation of houses, its officers are prepared to advise tenants on methods for getting rid of vermin. Supplies of an insecticide, I am told, are also issued free of charge when considered necessary, and an officer from the department may attend to apply this insecticide. I understand that the sanitary department has ratcatchers, but not for work in private houses.

Mr. Stephen

Does the right hon. Gentleman not think that the best way to deal with this plague is to provide decent houses for the people?

Mr. Elliot

Oh, yes, certainly Sir.