HC Deb 11 November 1947 vol 444 cc188-9
31. Mr. Spence

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether he is aware of the unsatisfactory condition of the huts on the Market Muir, Huntly, which have been let by his Department for human occupation and for which he is charging a rent; and whether, in the light of these unsatisfactory conditions, he will give an assurance that priority will be given to the erection of further permanent houses in Huntly in the near future.

Mr. Woodburn

The town council of Huntly, who manage the huts on my behalf were recently authorised to carry out repairs to improve their condition as temporary houses. I cannot give Huntly preferential treatment over other districts in the approval of new contracts, but I shall be ready to consider proposals by the town council when the housing schemes, now proceeding in the burgh, are nearing completion.

Mr. Spence

In view of the Minister's reply, which indicates a fairly long-term occupation of these huts, will he consider authorising further repairs to make these huts watertight before the winter, because there is hardly a dry place in which to put a bed at the moment?

Mr. Woodburn

Authorisation has been given to carry out repairs, but if the hon. Gentleman will advise me of any deficiencies which still exist, I will look into them.

33. Mr. Emrys Hughes

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he is aware that in the village of Mossblown, Ayrshire, in a house now owned by the National Coal Board 15 people are living in two rooms; and if he will consult with the National Coal Board in this case with a view to securing a re-allocation of the housing accommodation available.

Mr. Woodburn

I am informed by the National Coal Board that a two-apartment house owned by them in the village of Mossblown is occupied by a family of 13, but that the Board have no more suitable house available in the locality. I have brought the case to the notice of the county council, and understand that they will be prepared to give consideration to the needs of this family when a suitable house becomes available.

Mr. Hughes

Is my right hon. Friend aware that the National Coal Board have refused to co-operate with the county council? Will he take steps to remedy that?

Mr. Woodburn

My understanding of the position is that houses that are available from the National Coal Board are quite unsuitable for a family of 15, that there is no point in overcrowding a new house, and that it is far better to wait for what may become available shortly, I hope—a house with five rooms, which will be suitable for this family.

36. Mr. Willis

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he is aware that a dwelling house at 38, Bellevue Road, Edinburgh, has recently stood empty for over nine months; and whether he will ensure that the requisitioning powers possessed by the local authorities are fully used to prevent such occurrences.

Mr. Woodburn

I authorised the Corporation to take possession of this house on 31st October, and I understand that a formal notice was served on the owners on 3rd November. I have just been informed, however, that the house was sold some weeks ago and is now understood to be occupied by the purchaser. Difficulties sometimes arise, especially in large centres of population, in tracing houses which are being held vacant by owners, but local authorities generally are alive to the importance in present circumstances of making use of all available housing accommodation.