HC Deb 08 November 1949 vol 469 cc1038-9
15. Mrs. Jean Mann

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he is aware of the growing number of small apartment houses being offered now for sale at exorbitant prices; and since he has made it impossible for local authorities to requisition such houses for people in need, what further steps are contemplated to enable local authorities to deal with this situation.

The Secretary of State for Scotland (Mr. Woodburn)

Cases of small houses being sold are brought to my notice from time to time but I have no information that this is increasing to any great extent. I shall be glad to have any particulars which my hon. Friend can give me. As regards the rest of the Question, this matter is now in the hands of local authorities who have powers under the Housing (Scotland) Act, 1949, to acquire and improve premises with Exchequer assistance.

Mrs. Mann

Is my right hon. Friend aware that these houses are not worth improving, that the prices asked are exorbitant, and that no local authority would be justified in paying these prices for houses that are not worth improving?

Mr. Woodburn

I think my hon. Friend will agree that if the houses are not worth improving, it is not worth the Government using State money to requisition them.

Mr. McGovern

Apart from that, where the local authority has power, is the right hon. Gentleman aware that a number of quite good houses have been empty for some time and are being offered for sale instead of being let to tenants, and would he direct the attention of the Glasgow authority again to this growing practice?

Mr. Woodburn

I should think that the Glasgow authority know the position but it is open to any citizen to bring that position to the notice of the Glasgow authority, who certainly know their powers.

Mrs. Mann

I beg to give notice that, owing to the unsatisfactory nature of the position, I intend to raise the matter on the Adjournment.

24. Mr. Rankin

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland how many new permanent houses he expects to complete in Scotland by the end of 1949.

Mr. Woodburn

A total of 18,745 new permanent houses was completed in the first three quarters of this year. I am not prepared to make an estimate of the number likely to be completed in the last quarter.

Mr. Rankin

Is my right hon. Friend aware that an estimate at least was made at the beginning of this year, and how far does he expect he will have realised that hopeful estimate of 26,000 to 28,000 houses by the end of this year?

Mr. Woodburn

Guesswork is as easy for the hon. Member as it is for me. The building trade is subject to many vicissitudes from weather and other things which nobody can foretell. It would simply be guesswork on my part to say what the weather would be between now and 1st January.

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