HC Deb 25 March 1947 vol 435 cc1050-2
3. Mr. Stephen

asked the Minister of State for Scotland the number of houses to be completed in Glasgow, permanent and temporary, under the new allocation.

6. Mr. Carmichael

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he is aware of the protest made by the Glasgow Corporation Housing Committee against his housing allocation to Glasgow for 1947; what the allocation is, and the difference with Glasgow's own housing budget; and what are the reasons for the limited allocation in view of Glasgow's housing shortage.

Mr. Westwood

In informal discussions between my Department and representatives of the corporation, it was agreed that it might be possible for the corporation to complete some 4,000 houses in 1947, but I understand from the Press that the corporation now desire to come in deputation to me on the matter. The estimates of the numbers of permanent houses which could be completed by each local authority in 1947 are based on a study of the labour resources of the area, the present position of the authority's housing schemes, and the over-all position with regard to the supply of materials. It is estimated that during 1947, the Corporation of Glasgow's total allocation of 2,550 temporary houses will be completed: of these 851 had already been erected at 31st January.

Mr. Stephen

Can the Secretary of State for Scotland say why Glasgow has had to make this protest when they knew that they had sufficient labour available to provide another 4,000?

Mr. Westwood

I cannot say why they made the protest, but I am arranging to meet them to hear their proposals.

Major Guy Lloyd

Could the right hon. Gentleman say how many other local authorities have complained bitterly on the same lines, and whether they, also, are to be granted the privilege of an interview?

Mr. Westwood

I do not know that I have ever refused interviews with any local authorities who wished to meet me. No Secretary of State for Scotland has been more willing to meet the local authorities than I am, because I am interested in them.

Major Lloyd

On a point of Order. The right hon. Gentleman completely misunderstood my question. I made no such accusation whatever. I asked how many had been invited to attend an interview.

Mr. Westwood

It is impossible for me to say, without notice, how many have made complaints or have already asked to see me. I have indicated that, wherever it is possible, I am always ready to meet local authorities, because I am interested in local authorities.

Mr. Carmichael

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that Glasgow has protested because the Scottish Department have stated that Glasgow's total allocation is too high? Can the Secretary of State state the figure specified by his Department as against the figure calculated by the Glasgow Corporation?

Mr. Westwood

I cannot do so without notice, but I presume all these points will be brought to my notice when I receive the deputation.

4. Mr. Stephen

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether he is aware that the house factors and owners of property in Glasgow are extending their practice of holding empty houses for sale at exorbitant prices; and what further steps he intends to take for the protection of the public in view of the housing scarcity in Glasgow.

Mr. Westwood

My latest information does not suggest that the practice of holding empty houses in Glasgow for sale is increasing, but if the hon. Member has any evidence to the contrary I shall be glad to look into it. As I have already indicated, I am fully prepared to authorise the corporation to requisition unoccupied houses in the city, which are being deliberately kept vacant for possible sale at high prices.

Mr. McGovern

Is the right hon. Gentleman's Department aware that newspapers, especially the "Glasgow Herald," publish every day a large number of these cases of houses for sale, and does he think that he is taking sufficient steps to stop this practice?

Mr. Westwood

As I have already indicated, wherever a local authority, knowing all the facts, applies to me for requisitioning powers in accordance with the arrangements which have been made, I will do all I can to help secure the requisitioning of the properties, where I am satisfied that they are being deliberately kept from letting for the purpose of obtaining exorbitant prices.

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