HC Deb 29 June 1944 vol 401 cc801-2
56. Mr. Buchanan

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he is aware that Robert Wallace, 438, Crown Street, Glasgow, occupies, with his wife and four children, a one-roomed house; that his name has been on the list for a house for 12 years; that his wife is an expectant mother; that his present house is overrun with rats; that he pays full rent and the authorities have advised this man to have beds constructed in the walls; and if he will cause inquiry to be made.

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

As the hon. Member has been informed in the correspondence in this case, it is before Glasgow Corporation who have, however, no trace of any application by Mr. Wallace for a new house prior to February of this year. They are also unaware of any advice given to him about the construction of beds in the walls. I understand that the factor of Mr. Wallace's house had already been notified of the suspected presence of rats and that action is being taken to deal with them. Glasgow Corporation will consider Mr. Wallace's application for a new house at the earliest possible moment in view of the overcrowded nature of his present accommodation but it is unfortunately the case that they already have on their list the names of many other families whose needs are at least as urgent and whose applications are of longer standing.

Mr. Buchanan

Can nothing be done, not only in this case but in many others in the city of Glasgow, where children aged a few months are almost being bitten by rats, and their food destroyed? It is really a terrible thing. Will the Minister ask that something shall be done to protect these people and their food?

Mr. Westwood

We are doing all we can in the light of the labour difficulties with which we are faced at the present time. What we have been doing is, we admit, only interim action as regards dealing with what is one of Scotland's, as well as Glasgow's greatest problems.

Mr. Buchanan

Is there any reason why, in the meantime, young children cannot be protected against rats? Surety that can be done more effectively than is the case now?

Mr. Westwood

I have already intimated we have taken the necessary action to deal with this particular case, so far as that aspect is concerned.

Sir A. Beit

How does one suspect the presence of rats?