HC Deb 17 March 1942 vol 378 cc1303-4
1. Mr. McNeil

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether, in the current-year, in determining the amount of housing grants under the 1919 and 1923 Housing Acts available to local authorities, he will, in all areas which have suffered bomb damage, direct that the actual loss of rent due to bombing shall be deducted from the fixed rent income?

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

Under the Third Schedule to the Housing Act, 1935, my right hon. Friend has power to adjust the rent income of 1919 and 1923 Act houses only where the houses have been destroyed and are not to be rebuilt. It is not yet possible to determine in what cases the value payments ultimately to be made by the War Damage Commission will be used for rebuilding.

Mr. McNeil

Does not my hon. Friend realise that, where there is a chance of repairing houses which have been damaged by bombs, so long as they remain unrepaired local authorities suffer fairly severe losses? Is he aware that a local authority in my area has lost as much as £3,500? Will he not address himself to this problem?

Mr. Westwood

The point is that the general principle of the War Damage Act is to pay compensation for loss of capital and not for loss of revenue.

Mr. Neil Maclean

Is it not a fact that quite a number of these houses which could be repaired to accommodate tenants are still lying in a damaged condition? Cannot something be done by way of Government assistance to repair them and enable the people to be properly housed?

Mr. Westwood

I will certainly keep that point in mind, but we are doing everything possible to speed up the repairs of these houses to make them habitable for people coming back to these areas.