§ 20. Sir T. Moore
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether he can make a statement in regard to the provision of prefabricated houses for Scotland pending the conclusion of hostilities.
The whole question of the provision of prefabricated houses is being urgently investigated by my right hon. Friends the Minister of Works and the Minister of Health, and myself. I hope to make a statement after the completion of a prototype prefabricated house for emergency use which is at present being erected for the Ministry of Works.
§ Sir T. Moore
Can the right hon. Gentleman give any information as to when this statement will be made?
I understand that a prototype house will be completed and available for inspection by April.
§ Commander Locker-Lampson
Will the right hon. Gentleman see that he does not copy those bungaloid abominations which have been erected in England?
21. Major Lloyd
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether, in view of the high prices being demanded for the purchase of dwelling-houses in Scotland, he will take immediate steps to put an end to this form of profiteering.
I am making inquiries from the Keeper of the Sasines Register in which title deeds are recorded to see whether there is any evidence of such increases as would warrant legislation. I understand, however, that, as stated in my reply to the hon. Member for West Lothian (Mr. Mathers) on 2nd February, 1943, such increases as have taken place in the selling price of houses refer mainly to houses which are sold for occupation by the purchasers but I should welcome any information the hon. Member has in his possession.
If and when the right hon. Gentleman obtains the information he requires—which I gather he has not—will he take definite steps to put an end to this gross profiteering?
What action may be taken will, of course, depend upon the information. It may be more desirable that the matter should be dealt with in the Budget.
§ Mr. Gallacher
Why should there be such sales of houses in the existing situation in Scotland? Does the Minister not consider it his responsibility to requisition all houses in Scotland and allocate them to the best advantage of the people?
§ Mr. Lipson
When the right hon. Gentleman has the information, will be consult with the Ministry of Health so that similar action may be taken in this country?
Certainly. Any action taken by the Government in Scotland in a matter of this kind would require to be taken in consultation with other Ministers.
§ Mr. Craven-Ellis
If that information is given to the House, will the right hon. Gentleman, in that statement, also give the reasons for the increase?
§ Mr. Craven-Ellis
Is not the increase largely due to the high wages which are being paid and why do the Government not support high wages?
22. Mr. J. J. Davidson
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland the number of married couples with three or more of a family who have applied, and are still waiting, for four- and five-apartment corporation houses in Glasgow.
I am informed that the particulars desired are not meanwhile available but will be forthcoming soon in respect of houseless and overcrowded families whose applications for houses have recently been made to the Corporation and are now being classified. I will let my hon. Friend have the information as soon as I receive it.
When my right hon. Friend does receive that information, will he publish it in the OFFICIAL REPORT?
§ Mr. Neil Maclean
Does the right hon. Gentleman not think that information of this kind would be useful to all Members of Parliament representing Scottish constituencies?
§ Mr. McKinlay
Will my right hon. Friend bear in mind that this interference with the prerogative of local authorities should not be encouraged?
23. Mr. J. J. Davidson
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland the number of 12 four- and five-apartment corporation houses in Glasgow let to, and occupied by, only one person, the number occupied by only two persons, and the number of five-apartment houses occupied by only a married couple and one child, respectively.
I regret that the particulars desired by my hon. Friend are not available. Their preparation would involve issuing a questionnaire to over 54,000 corporation tenants and I hardly feel justified in asking the corporation to do this, particularly at the present time.
In view of the fact that there are married couples in Glasgow—thousands of them—with three or more of a family, waiting for four- or five-apartment houses, if I draw my right hon. Friend's attention to the fact that such houses, particularly non-subsidised houses, are being let to single persons with no responsibilities, will he take the necessary action?
Action is being taken in another direction. For example, the corporation are proposing now to use part of their allocation of houses for the erection of hostel accommodation, and to use that hostel accommodation for single persons.
May I repeat my question. If I draw my right hon. Friend's attention to instances of four- and five-apartment non-subsidised houses being let at the present time to single persons, will he take the necessary steps to stop this practice?
Certainly—if the hon. Member will allow me to complete my answer—I will be glad of information and will take whatever steps are within my power in the matter.