HC Deb 19 July 1938 vol 338 cc1980-1
38. Mr. Gallacher

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether he is aware of the strong feeling that exists in Fife on the question of the new rent scales and rebate scheme; that a family of man and wife with four children, with an income of £2 19s. 4d. and a rent bill of 9s. 8d. per week, get a rebate of 2d. per week; and that, in many cases before such a rebate is given, the rent, arising from the scheme of standardisation, has already been increased by several shillings per week; and will he consult with the local authorities with a view to finding some means of relieving working-class families of this burden of heavy rents?

Mr. Colville

I have been in touch with the county council, who do not admit that there is strong feeling against their rent scales and rebates scheme. The revised standard rents vary from £14 for a two-apartment flat to £27 for a five-apartment cottage, and rebates may be granted according to the financial circumstances of the tenant, subject to a minimum rent of £10 for a flat and £12 for a cottage of any size. I am informed that the rebated rent in the case referred to by the hon. Member is £16 a year (exclusive of rates), or 6s. 2d. a week for a three-apartment flat. The sum of 9s. 8d. mentioned in the question includes rates. With regard to the last part of the question, while the fixing of rents and the granting of rebates are matters for the local authorities themselves, if the hon. Member will let me know which local authorities he has in mind, I shall have inquiries made.

Mr. Gallacher

In view of the experience of Members from Scotland as to the worry and strain and hardship that are caused by high rents, and of the proposals that have already been made, will not the Minister arrange for a meeting with the principal local authorities in order that there may be a thorough discussion of this question of houses and rents, and make some arrangement whereby the Government can assist local authorities to deal with cases such as this?

Mr. Cassells

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that in the County of Renfrew rents have actually increased in certain instances from £14 to £29?

Mr. Speaker

That does not arise.

Mr. Mathers

Has the Secretary of State examined the Fife system of applying certain standard rents to three-apartment houses; and is he satisfied with it?

Mr. Colville

I think we have gone rather beyond the original question. I can hardly discuss these matters by question and answer.

Mr. Gallacher

Will not the Minister consult with the principal local authorities in order to come to some understood agreement on this question of housing and rents?

Mr. Colville

That is quite beyond the original question.