HC Deb 02 November 1948 vol 457 cc647-9
1. Mr. Rankin

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he is aware that the tenants at 120 Blackburn Street, Kinning Park, Glasgow, are living in dwellings in such an extreme state of disrepair as to be dangerous to life; and what steps he is taking to ensure their safety.

The Secretary of State for Scotland (Mr. Woodburn)

I am informed that the houses in this property are in a poor state of repair and that the back wall of the building is slightly bulged. Should this defect worsen, the Corporation will immediately deal with the property as a dangerous building. In the meantime they are considering its acquisition with a view to executing all necessary repairs.

Mr. Rankin

Is my right hon. Friend aware that this property is not merely in a slightly dangerous condition, but is in a very serious state, and while these negotiations are going on, what immediate steps are to be taken to safeguard the position of the tenants who are in a state of alarm at this moment?

Mr. Woodburn

I shall ask the local authority to look further into the matter in view of what my hon. Friend says.

Commander Galbraith

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the only cure for this state of affairs is to build more houses, and can he say what limitation there has been on the building of houses in Glasgow this year?

Mr. Woodburn

That cure has been known for 60 years, but it is rather late in the day for the hon. and gallant Member to suggest putting it into operation now.

4 and 5. Lieut.-Commander Hutchison

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland (1) whether he is aware that Edinburgh Corporation has only received permission to erect 200 new houses next year; that thousands of people in the city are living in insanitary or overcrowded conditions; and whether he will allow the local authority to press on with the provision of new houses;

(2) on what grounds he has limited the construction of new local authority houses in Edinburgh to only 200 in the next year.

Mr. Woodburn

The corporation have yet to complete some 1,300 houses, on the majority of which work will still be proceeding next year. Nevertheless, 200 additional houses have been allocated to the city for commencement in 1949, and a further instalment can be considered when more progress has been made with those houses now building. In the meantime, the number of new houses that may be approved is severely limited by the present restrictions on capital investment, and the allocation to Edinburgh could be increased only at the expense of other local authorities.

Lieut.-Commander Hutchison

Is the Secretary of State aware that there are more than 4,000 people whose names are entered on the emergency housing list of the social services officer of the city at the present time, quite apart from those who are registered with the city's housing department? This is a matter of very great urgency.

Mr. Woodburn

I quite agree, but the delay in house-building, extending over the last 50 years, cannot be remedied in three years. Since the war, Edinburgh has had 25 times the number of houses built and provided that were provided in the same period after the previous war.

Mr. Willis

Is it not a fact that certain restraint has been exercised by the Edinburgh Corporation in commencing new houses and that, under these new provisions, that acts to the detriment of Edinburgh in obtaining new houses?

Mr. Woodburn

I quite admit that Edinburgh exercised restraint and did not go so far as other authorities in building new houses. Because of that restraint, Edinburgh has had the first allocation of new houses.

Major Guy Lloyd

Is the Minister aware that, bad as the situation is in Edinburgh, it is much worse in Glasgow, where it is a scandal?

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