HC Deb 29 June 1943 vol 390 cc1454-6
25. Mr. McNeil

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland how many of the recently sanctioned 1,000 houses have been tendered for; how many contracts have been placed; how many have been approved by the Department of Health for Scotland; and on how many construction has been started?

The Secretary of State for Scotland (Mr. T. Johnston)

Tenders have been received for 254 houses, and these have all been approved. Work is being carried out on 204 houses and will begin on the remaining 5o within a few days. I expect to receive further tenders at an early date, and I have recently re-emphasised the urgency of the scheme to all the local authorities concerned. I have satisfied myself that all plans submitted to the Department have been approved, and approved with promptitude.

Mr. McNeil

Does not my right hon. Friend agree that after four months someone is to blame for 75o houses being still untendered for, and is his Department prepared to take any action against any backward local authorities so that people may know who they are and can deal with them?

Mr. Johnston

Yes, Sir. In my answer I said that I have recently re-emphasised the urgency of the scheme to the local authorities concerned and that there is only one county council at this moment which has not selected sites.

Mr. Shinwell

Can my right hon. Friend say why he has managed to make such substantial progress in Scotland regarding these houses while only 54 tenders have been approved for the 3,000 agricultural cottages for England? Is not this an injustice to England?

Mr. McGovern

Are these r,000 houses entirely new houses, or have a number of them been under construction for a long time and been set aside during the period of the war?

Mr. Johnston

The 1,000 houses in this scheme are entirely new.

Major Leighton

Can the Minister state the price?

Mr. Johnston

While tenders are still being received from some county councils it would be highly inadvisable to disclose the price.

Mr. Austin Hopkinson

Can the Minister say why he has not been subjected to the same virulent criticism as the Minister of Health?

Mr. Kirkwood

Because he is a Scotsman.

26. Mr. Kirkwood

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether, in view of the urgent necessity of preparing a large-scale production of houses in Scotland he will consider the expediency of extending the scope and functions of the Scottish Special Housing Association?

Mr. Johnston

The Scottish Special Housing Association is a non-profit making organisation operating with State capital and is, in my opinion, a very useful house-building agency supplementing the operations of the local authorities. The Association's powers were extended in 1939 to enable it to build houses in any part of Scotland, and I am at present considering plans for a large-scale programme of building by the Association immediately after the war.

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