§ 34 and 35. Mr. Kirkwood
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland (1) whether he is aware that a company, of which he has been informed, are satisfied that the vital national work performed by their workers is being seriously prejudiced by these workers having lost their houses by enemy action and having to travel long hours to and from work in increasing difficulties and at great expense; and will he give special consideration to the scheme now proposed by this company for repairing the houses of at least 50 of these workers and their families;
(2) whether he is aware that a scheme proposed for repairing the houses of 50 workers and their families, who lost their homes in the Clydebank raids, is opposed by the local authority on the ground that the houses are so severely damaged that the cost of repairs would be prohibitive; and, as the scheme in question works out at a cost of only £240 per house and no better solution has been proposed, will be use his powers of compulsion to put this scheme into operation?
By section 4 (1) of the War Damage Act, 1941, local authorities are precluded from repairing a war damaged house at greater cost than the estimated value of the house after repair. Expert advice given to Clydebank Town Council is to the effect that repair of these particular houses is excluded by the section to which I have referred. But I am now in consultation with the War Damage 1062 Commission upon the subject, and I will communicate with the hon. Member about it at, I hope, an early date. Offers to billet in Glasgow workers who have to travel long distances to their work have ahead been made, and these offers are still open. Over 300 workers have already taken advantage of these offers.
§ Mr. Kirkwood
Is my right hon. Friend not aware that Glasgow has made no attempt to re-house these people and that Glasgow at the moment has 90,000 names for houses? What is he going to do about that?
The last paragraph of my answer dealt with billeting, and I said that over 300 workers had already been billeted and the offer to billet more was still open.
§ Mr. Gallacher
Is the right hon. Gentleman not aware that, in order to get the best results as far as production is concerned, it is essential that the workers should be in their own homes and not billeted in someone else's? Will he do everything possible to speed up this work?
§ 36. Mr. Kirkwood
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether he is aware that his Department have repeatedly refused to allow the town council of Clydebank to build new houses to rehouse the workers whose houses were destroyed by enemy action in 1941; and, in view of the essential national work done by these workers, of the waste of money and fuel in workers travelling long distances to work and of the continued hardship to these people, will he have the decision reversed and allow the town council to proceed with their scheme for at least 100 new houses now and others in due course?
I am satisfied that the limited supply of labour and materials available in the present national situation can be used to the best advantage in completing the 288 houses which the town council already have under construction. My officers are in constant touch with the council to assist them in completing as many as possible of those houses this winter and special arrangements were made some time ago to ensure that the council got the necessary labour and materials for the purpose. At the present time about 100 tradesmen are employed on the work. When the 288 1063 houses now under construction are completed I shall review the council's proposals for new building in the light of the then position as to labour and materials.
§ Mr. Kirkwood
Will my right hon. Friend note that the condition in Clydebank is desperate? Seeing that they are making utility furniture and utility clothing, will he not put forward the idea of giving us utility houses?
That is why I said it was necessary that the 288 houses now under construction should have their construction expedited and that I hoped that the building would be completed this winter.
§ Mr. Kirkwood
We want thousands of houses now. It is not a matter of 200. That does not touch the fringe of the situation.