HC Deb 18 March 1952 vol 497 cc2093-4
32. Major Anstruther-Gray

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether he can make a statement about the reconditioning of rural workers' houses; and if he can give an assurance that grant is now available in every case of a genuine farm worker's house.

Mr. J. Stuart

I am considering the possibility of legislation on this matter, but I regret that it is too early to make a statement.

Major Anstruther-Gray

Is my right hon. Friend aware that the delay is preventing a lot of much-needed reconditioning from being started, and will he consider making a statement that in any future legislation any grant will be made retrospective to, say, one year's date from now?

Mr. Stuart

I cannot say anything about retrospective legislation, which is apt to be dangerous in some cases, but I assure my hon. and gallant Friend that I am as anxious as he is to see this got on with.

Mr. John Wheatley

Is the right hon. Gentleman not aware that under existing Housing Acts there is a 50 per cent. grant available for these houses, provided they are not tied?

Mr. Stuart

I am aware of that

Colonel Alan Gomme-Duncan

Is my right hon. Friend aware that an untied house in the agricultural industry is absurd?

Mr. Malcolm MacMillan

Does the right hon. Gentleman's reply mean that it is intended to invest further public money in these houses so as to enhance their value, and not to give tenancy rights to the rural workers concerned, and also to leave these houses in the hands of private property owners?

Mr. Stuart

The intention of the Government is to try to improve the condition of houses for workers.

Mr. MacMillan

Will the right hon. Gentleman address himself to the very important principle embodied in my supplementary question?

Mr. Stuart