HC Deb 30 April 1941 vol 371 cc418-9
38. Mr. McKinlay

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether he is aware that municipalities throughout Scotland have thousands of partially completed houses which could be made available to re-house bombed-out families at little cost; and will he give this matter his consideration as an alternative to the wasteful method of using condemned property?

The Joint Under-Secretary of State for Scotland (Mr. Westwood)

So far as the shortage of labour and materials permit, local authorities in Scotland are free to complete partially built houses. It is obvious, however, that such houses when completed cannot be held empty against the possibility of their being required for bombed-out families. In some cases new houses have in fact been used to accommodate families rendered homeless, but in order to supplement such accommodation my right hon. Friend has authorised the licensing of condemned property for temporary use under proper safeguards.

Mr. Kirkwood

Will the Secretary of State for Scotland see to it, where houses have been damaged and partially repaired, that landlords do not receive the same rent? Will he also see that the same thing applies to houses which have been condemned?

Mr. Westwood

That is another question, but I will convey the point to my right hon. Friend.

Mr. McKinlay

The Question refers to "partially completed houses." Is it not a fact that we have thousands of such houses which could be made wind-and-weather proof and be used as hostels for those who have been bombed out?

Mr. Westwood

So far as the shortage of material and labour will allow, we have enabled local authorities to complete any houses which are partially constructed.

Mr. Maxton

What is happening is that men and material are issued readily to deal with houses which have been battered, but men and material will not be permitted to complete partially completed houses.

Mr. Westwood

We have placed no limitation on the powers of local authorities in Scotland. Under the priority scheme they can get both material and labour to complete these houses.