4. Mr. McNeil
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland how many of the 1,000 houses authorised 12 months ago have now been completed; and if there are any upon which actual construction has not commenced.
Four of the houses have been completed, and 870 are under construction including 220 which have been roofed over. It has been found impossible to secure reasonable tender prices so far for almost all the remaining 126.
Can my right hon. Friend offer any explanation for the very slow rate of construction in those which have been started? What does he intend to do about the 250 for which he has been able to receive tenders?
Not 250. The figure I gave was 126. The difficulty of course is that some of the tenders were for extraordinarily high prices. One series came in for £1,815 per house. Obviously that is a ramp and I do not propose to lend my assistance to it. We have done everything we can to secure more reasonable tenders and more reasonable tenders are being secured in some cases.
§ Mr. Buchanan
Is my right hon. Friend satisfied that a rate of progress of four houses completed in 12 months can be looked upon as desirable?
Will my right hon. Friend not agree that since the houses were authorised it is up to the Ministry of 1686 Labour having given the authorisation to make available the labour required for the job?
The question of labour priority ought of course to be addressed elsewhere. The point of the Question is the number that have not yet been started and I have answered that.
§ Mr. Gallacher
Will the right hon. Gentleman not seriously face the question of prosecuting those who are trying to make a ramp out of an urgent need?
It is very difficult by question and answer to explain what may have been the reasons for £1,815 tenders, but one of the reasons given is the difficulty of securing labour, and the contractors are obviously trying to cover themselves in that regard.