HC Deb 27 February 1951 vol 484 cc1881-2
3. Captain Duncan

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what restrictions have been recently imposed on the issue of permits for the reconstruction of rural cottages.

The Joint Under-Secretary of State for Scotland (Mr. Thomas Fraser)

Because of restrictions on capital investment, local authorities have been asked to limit the licensing of work for the repair, conversion or improvement of existing dwellings in general to about 80 per cent. of the amount licensed in 1949. No special restriction has been placed on the reconstruction of rural cottages.

Captain Duncan

Is it not a fact that the allocation to the county councils is 80 per cent. for housing and reconditioning? Will the hon. Gentleman reconsider this matter, in view of the urgent necessity for reconditioned houses if he wants to carry out the agricultural expansion programme?

Mr. Fraser

This 80 per cent. does not refer to new housing as such. It refers only to housing improvements, repairs, reconstruction and so on.

Commander Galbraith

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that the licensing authorities find, as a result of their experience, that the imposition of a strict financial limit beyond which they are unable to issue licences operates to restrict the work of reconstruction, even where labour and materials are available? Will he be good enough to look into the matter and, if he finds the complaint to be well-founded, will he take remedial action?

Mr. Fraser

In special cases we have already done so.

Captain Duncan

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that in some counties, like the county of Angus, the effect of this will be materially to reduce the amount of reconstruction of rural cottages, which will have a deleterious effect on the agricultural expansion programme of his own Government?

Mr. Fraser

This is the policy which was pursued last year, and I am not aware that there is very great resistance to it.

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