HC Deb 06 April 1943 vol 388 cc481-2
30. Mr. Kirkwood

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether he is aware that the housing shortage in Clydebank is so great that men engaged on urgent war production are unable to house their families; and in view of the serious effect of this shortage on the health of the children, will he arrange for priority to be given to the housing needs of such families?

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

My right hon. Friend understands that the town council give special consideration to the claims of homeless war workers in the letting of any houses under their control and that they have come to an arrangement with the property owners under which a preference is given to such workers as respects the letting of privately owned houses. As the hon. Member has already been informed, my right hon. Friend is prepared in suitable cases to authorise the requisitioning of privately owned houses for war workers and their families. In addition, special arrangements have been made under which Clydebank workers who have lost their homes and are unable to obtain suitable accommodation in Clydebank may be found accommodation in Glasgow.

Mr. Kirkwood

Is my hon. Friend aware that people in Clydebank are refusing to go into the slums of Glasgow?

Mr. Westwood

I am aware that in some cases they have declined to go to the houses that have been requisitioned for them, but not in all cases of refusal have the properties been in slum areas.

Mrs. Hardie

Is my hon. Friend aware that there is no surplus accommodation in Glasgow for anyone? People are crying out for houses and, in many parts, are living in horrible conditions.

Mr. Buchanan

Is my hon. Friend aware that the policy of transferring people to Glasgow is making the position terribly acute and that it is no solution for the people of Clydebank, as it only makes the position more intolerable? It is disgraceful.

31. Mr. Kirkwood

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether he has considered the typical cases of hardship to the families of Service men and war workers resulting from the housing shortage in Clydebank, which have been sent to him by the hon. Member for Dumbarton Burghs; and whether he will take steps to relieve these and similar cases?

Mr. Westwood

Inquiries are being made into the cases referred to by the hon. Member, and my right hon. Friend will communicate with him as soon as these inquiries have been completed.

Mr. Gallacher

Is it not the case that there are very many large houses around the area that could be taken over by the Secretary of State for Scotland and put to use to serve the needs of some of these families?

Mr. Westwood

The Secretary of State has given full powers to the local authorities to requisition the houses which they consider to be desirable for the purpose of accommodating our people.

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