HC Deb 11 November 1952 vol 507 cc758-60
32. Mrs. Mann

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if his attention has been drawn to the increasing number of houses for sale, and the diminishing number of houses to rent; and what proposals he has to ensure an availability of houses to rent for those who are in urgent need.

Commander Galbraith

I am told that the number of existing rented houses actually being sold is small. On the other hand, over 20,000 new houses were completed during the first nine months of this year for letting, against 15,400 in the same period last year. The number of houses for renting, therefore, far from diminishing, is increasing.

Mrs. Mann

Is the hon. and gallant Gentleman aware that the number of privately owned houses to rent is greatly diminished, that many of our population cannot qualify for a council house, and that it is these people who are now being forced to buy? Can he do something about it?

Commander Galbraith

That is not in accordance with the information which I have obtained.

Mr. Patrick Maitland

Is my hon. and gallant Friend aware that the Lanarkshire County Council has recently refused to allocate licences for private building?

33. Mrs. Mann

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what action he proposes to take to bring the prices of houses for sale in Scotland into similar percentage above pre-war figures as those offered for sale in England.

Commander Galbraith

The hon. Member's suggestion would involve a close control over the selling price of houses which seems neither practicable nor desirable.

Mrs. Mann

Is the Minister aware that local authorities have the power to take over houses and that, in taking them over, they need not pay these exploitation prices? Would the hon. and gallant Gentleman encourage local authorities to do that where he knows that the prices are really sheer exploitation?

Commander Galbraith

I know that the local authorities have these powers.

Mrs. Cullen

Is the Minister aware that in my constituency single houses in tenement buildings are being sold, and will he take immediate steps to do something to stop this ramp at the expense of homeless people?

Commander Galbraith

Might I remind the hon. Lady that the recent Labour Government found it impossible to accept the recommendations of the Morris Committee?

Mr. Woodburn

Will the hon. and gallant Gentleman consider the granting of time to my hon. Friend the Member for Dunbartonshire, West (Mr. Steele) to bring in a Bill to prevent the sale of houses?

Commander Galbraith

The right hon. Gentleman knows that that question should be addressed to another source.

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