HC Deb 13 February 1945 vol 408 cc3-4
2. Mr. McKinlay

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if his Department approved of the material used and the design of the temporary houses erected by the Special Housing Association in Dumbartonshire; and will he state the cost of erection and the cost of making the houses habitable after they were occupied.

Mr. Johnston

In view of the great need for some alleviation of the housing shortage, I authorised an experiment, in 1943, with some 500 emergency houses in four areas in the West of Scotland, based upon the Ministry of Works specimen hut at Polkemmet, for which, I was assured, stocks of prefabricated parts were available. The local authorities concerned were consulted. The cost of erection is, approximately, £720 per house, and the cost of making defective houses weatherproof is estimated at £32 10s. per house. In view of the development of the Government's temporary house programme, it is not proposed to proceed with further experiments of this kind.

Mr. McKinlay

Was the material out of which these houses were constructed submitted to the Burt Committee; and is it not a fact that the same soggy mess is being produced throughout the country for building temporary houses for the people? Will my right hon. Friend give an assurance that no more of that material will be used in Scotland?

Mr. Johnston

I would like to have notice of the third part of my hon. Friend's supplementary question. I can say that it is not proposed to proceed with further experiments of this kind.

Mr. McKinley

Is not this another demonstration of the incompetence of the Ministry of Works to interfere at all with housing in Scotland?

Mr. Stokes

Or anywhere?

6. Mr. McLean Watson

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether he can explain the delay in the construction of the 20 houses allocated to the burgh of Cowdenbeath seven months ago; and whether, in view of the urgent need for houses in this burgh, he will take steps to have the work expedited.

Mr. Johnston

Progress generally is hampered by war-time difficulties with regard to labour supply, and, in addition, work on this scheme has been delayed by bad weather during the winter. Nevertheless 10 houses are roofed, 6 are at first floor level and 4 are at damp proof course level. The progress in construction here really compares favourably with the progress that has been found possible in some other areas. But we shall continue to take any steps in our power to expedite completion.

Mr. Watson

Has my right hon. Friend any information which would enable him to say, approximately, when the first of these houses will be ready for occupation?

Mr. Johnston

No, Sir; but I will find out and communicate with my hon. Friend.