HC Deb 08 February 1951 vol 483 cc1929-30
46. Mr. McInnes

asked the Prime Minister if, in view of the fact that house building operations in England and Wales have now been placed under control of the Minister of Local Government and Planning, he is now prepared to consider the feasibility of establishing a Ministry of Building in Scotland which will take over and co-ordinate the functions at present carried out by the Department of Health and the Ministry of Works so far as housing and all other building work is concerned.

The Prime Minister

No, Sir. Before the recent transfer of functions in England and Wales, I considered with the Secretary of State for Scotland the position in Scotland and decided against any redistribution of functions. In Scotland, the responsibility for housing, local government and planning is already vested in the Secretary of State.

Mr. McInnes

Is my right hon. Friend aware that the proposals contained in this Question have the full support of the organised Labour movement and other organisations in Scotland, and that his reply will cause extreme dissatisfaction?

Major Guy Lloyd

Is the Prime Minister aware that the plight of the homeless in Scotland is so acute that they feel very strongly that political prejudices should not rule in this matter? Will he instruct the Secretary of State to rule out political prejudice in regard to the problems of the homeless in Scotland?

The Prime Minister

There is no question of political prejudice in this matter; it is a question of administration. The real difficulty is the well-known shortage of materials and the availability of labour. It is very largely a matter for local authorities.

Mr. Manuel

Will my right hon. Friend have another look at this question and consider the advisability of having some form of inquiry into the position, for, quite frankly, the United Kingdom Department, which operates special agencies in Scotland, is not meeting the position?