HC Deb 13 October 1942 vol 383 cc1472-3
22. Mr. Kirkwood

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether he is aware that the need for rehousing workers in Clydebank cannot be met by the mere employment of 100 men on finishing 288 new houses, and that before the completion of this work this winter it is necessary to begin a further scheme, not leaving any gap in rehousing schemes; and whether he will consult with the Ministers of Production and Supply about priorities in supplying wooden huts and get an allocation of not less than 2,000 wooden huts for Clydebank as a temporary measure?

Mr. Johnston

About 800 tradesmen are employed in Clydebank in repairing war damaged houses and in completing the 288 houses under construction. As I have already informed the hon. Member, it is not possible to get additional labour for the building of new houses at the present time, but when the 288 houses are completed I shall review the Council's proposal for new building in the light of the then position as to labour and materials. The Town Council have plenty of land available for new houses and have plans of the houses prepared, so that if the labour position improves and we are able to authorise new building, they will be able to get ahead immediately with the work. I am in touch with the Minister of Production and the other Ministers concerned in the matter raised in the second part of the hon. Member's Question.

Earl Winterton

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that many of us in this House have been to Scotland on business connected with the war and are simply horrified by the state of affairs in those parts? Will he not try to do something for these people before the severe winter weather sets in?

Mr. Johnston

I can assure the Noble Lord that I have spared no pains—I think my hon. Friend the Member for Dumbarton Burghs (Mr. Kirkwood) will assure him of that—to have as many war-damaged houses as possible repaired before the winter. Not only are damaged houses being repaired, but new houses are being constructed.

Mr. Kirkwood

Arising from the Minister's original reply, I am very sorry that I have to press the matter home on the Floor of the House of Commons. It is absolutely desperate. What is the proposition that the Secretary of State for Scotland, who knows the circumstances, is prepared to place before the Minister of Production and the Minister of Supply, in order that the matter of getting temporary houses may be dealt with before the winter sets in?

Mr. Johnston

I stick to the last part of my answer. I am in touch with the Minister of Production and other Ministers concerned in the matter raised in the second part of the Question.

Mr. McNeil

May we take it that if any arrangement is reached for planning houses of the type at Clydebank, the facilities will be offered to other areas?

Mr. Johnston

That is one of the difficulties with which we are faced, in view of the minimum supply of labour and materials. The whole question at issue at the moment is how far that limited supply of labour and materials may be used to the best national advantage.