§ Considered in Committee under Standing Order No. 84 (Money Committees).—[Queen's recommendation signified.]
§ [Sir RHYS HOPKIN MORRIS in the Chair.]
§ 7.24 p.m.
§ The Secretary of State for Scotland (Mr. James Stuart)
I beg to move,That, for the purposes of any Act of the present Session to make further provision as respects Scotland for the clearance and redevelopment of areas of unfit housing accommodation, and for securing or promoting the reconditioning and maintenance of houses, and otherwise to amend the enactments relating to housing and rent control, it is expedient to authorise the payment out of moneys provided by Parliament of—The main purpose of this Resolution is to seek authority for the payment of moneys to local authorities towards the cost of acquiring and doing works on unfit houses under the Housing (Repairs and Rents) (Scotland) Bill pending demolition of these houses. The Second Reading debate on the Bill provided an opportunity for me to explain the scope of the powers which it is proposed to give to local authorities for this purpose. In particular, I stressed then the point that the new proposals were in no sense a substitute for the demolition of bad 1090 houses, and that the Government were anxious that local authorities should resume slum clearance to the fullest possible extent in their areas at the earliest possible moment.
- (a) contributions in respect of houses purchased by local authorities under section seventeen of the Housing (Scotland) Act, 1950, or in respect of houses purchased or held by local authorities for demolition but retained for use for housing purposes, consisting of—
- (i) a contribution equal to one-half of the annual loan charges referable to the cost of purchase of each such house for each financial year in which any part of the house is used for housing purposes; and
- (ii) a contribution equal to seven pounds five shillings, or such other sum as the Secretary of State may determine, for each such house payable annually for a period of fifteen years;
- (b) any increase attributable to the said Act of the present Session in the sums payable out of such moneys under subsection (3) of section one of the Rent of Furnished Houses Control (Scotland) Act, 1943, section one hundred and sixteen or section one hundred and seventy of the Housing (Scotland) Act, 1950, or Part II of the Local Government Act, 1948.
We must recognise that in many districts, despite the very remarkable progress which has been made in the building of new houses, the housing shortage is still so acute that houses which should be demolished will have to be occupied for some time ahead. The time will, of course, vary from district to district, but whether it be long or short, it is right in the meantime to do whatever can be done to improve and make the lot of the tenants of these houses more bearable, and that is the justification for this Resolution.
The Resolution provides that financial assistance will be given to local authorities under two headings. These are stated quite clearly in the Financial Resolution on the Paper and also in the White Paper which I presented, Cmd. 9032. In the first place, it is proposed that the Exchequer should meet one half of the annual loan charges relating to the cost of purchase of each house for each financial year in which any part of the house is used for housing purposes. Secondly, there is to be a contribution of £7 5s. for each house annually for a period of 15 years towards the cost of carrying out works upon it and the local authority's other charges. Under Clause 5 of the Bill local authorities are to make in respect of each house a contribution from the rates equal to the Exchequer's contribution. That is to say, the Exchequer and the rate contributions are to be on a fifty-fifty basis.
I have consulted the three associations of local authorities in Scotland about these proposals, and they have expressed their views. I met them, in the first place, before the Second Reading of the Bill; then later meetings took place with officials, and to give time for further consideration I did not move the Money Resolution as it was previously tabled. The last meeting with the associations took place on 4th January, when my right hon. and gallant Friend the Joint Under-Secretary of State attended.
§ Mr. Stuart
I am coining to the differences which developed. Following this last meeting with the associations, I presented the short White Paper to which I have just referred, containing the terms of the Resolution which we are now considering.
This new Resolution substitutes £7 5s. for £6 10s., which was in the Resolution previously tabled, as the Exchequer contribution payable annually to local authorities for 15 years for work done on unfit houses. I may say that the negotiations with the local authorities began on a basis of £5 5s. As hon. Members are aware, the Resolution originally tabled contained the figure of £6 10s., and the present Money Resolution contains the figure of £7 5s., which, at the end of our negotiations, is an increase of as much as £2—a considerable percentage increase. I have done my best to be generous. The calculation is based upon an average deficit per house of £14 10s., which is the best estimate we could make in the absence of experience on this subject. I do not think that the associations seriously challenged the figure of £14 10s.
I cannot claim, however, that they accepted the financial provisions outlined in the Financial Resolution and in the Bill. The fundamental difference between us is as to the ratio in which the average annual deficiency should be borne by the Exchequer and by the rates. The associations proposed that the ratio should be three to one and not one to one, or fifty-fifty, as proposed in the Resolution, on the ground that three to one is the ratio prevailing in respect of new houses. Naturally, I sympathised with their views, but I regretted that I was unable to accept them. I cannot admit that because the three-to-one ratio operates in respect of new housing it must necessarily operate in this different sphere.
It may be of interest to many hon. Members to recall that the three-to-one ratio in respect of new housing has not operated throughout and that during the last 30 years the ratio has been varied on several occasions. Before the war it was normally below three to one. In any case, there is no true comparison between the burden imposed on local authorities for new houses and that likely to result under the new proposals which are now being considered. The burden in regard to new 1092 building is admittedly heavy, but it can be measured in advance and it is assumed for a period of 60 years.
Against that, the new scheme is temporary, for a 15-year period only on the average, and the expenditure will be small compared with the cost of new building and will vary from house to house. Account will have to be taken of the condition, age and type of each house and of the amount of work which should be done upon it and how long it should be retained for housing purposes.
This means that, in practice, authorities will have to hold the balance between doing enough to make conditions more tolerable for tenants and avoiding spending more than is necessary, taking into consideration the temporary life of the structure. The probability is that this will be best done if there is a balance of responsibility between taxpayer and ratepayer. For this reason it is not unreasonable that the contributions should be on a fifty-fifty basis.
I was glad to hear the right hon. Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. Bevan) admit this afternoon, in disussing the English Financial Resolution—I do not quote his exact words, although I made a note while he was speaking—that local authorities should have a due measure of financial responsibility. That supports my argument.
Mr. Hector McNeil (Greenock)
§ Mr. Stuart
Of course, it is a matter of opinion how one interprets the word "due," but at any rate he did admit that I am suggesting that in this instance the 50–50 basis is a reasonable measure of assistance, and that, in practice, it will be found to be not unreasonable. It is perfectly natural that the local authority associations should try to persuade the Government to retain the three to one ratio.
The right hon. Member for Ebbw Vale also admitted this afternoon that he saw the difficulty of estimating costs in a new field such as the one upon which we are now embarking. Those are not his exact words, but I agree with him that it will take time to test the various estimates made in arriving at the subsidy figures, and only experience will provide a reasonable assessment of the average cost of repairs and of the cost of maintenance and management. In fact, I think it is 1093 generally admitted that this is an experiment.
When we have adequate information based on experience, then the scheme will be reviewed. The Bill makes special provision for the subsidies, on review, to be altered either upwards or downwards without new legislation, but subject to an affirmative Resolution of this House, which means, in practice, that Parliament retains control over financial expenditure.
This is a matter to which reference was made in some detail this afternoon, and. therefore, I thought it wise to stress the fact—because being of very great importance I think it is worthy of repetition—that we have powers under subsections (2) and (4) of Clause 4 to vary the subsidy either upwards or downwards.
I wish to impress upon the Committee that in any such future adjustments and in deciding upon the figures, it is of very great importance to keep before us the fact that slum clearance is our main objective and that this is a temporary expedient to tide us over until such time as slum clearance can be carried through.
§ Mr. McInnes
Would the right hon. Gentleman be good enough to clarify precisely what subsection of Clause 4 gives him the right to increase the contribution?
§ Mr. Stuart
Clause 4 (2) says, in italics:as if for the sum therein specified there were substituted such higher or lower sum as may be specified in the order.I was saying that in embarking upon this work we should keep before us the fact that slum clearance is our main objective, because, as my right hon. Friend said this afternoon, we must not regard patching as a substitute for slum clearance.
This Money Resolution also contains certain minor amendments. It makes subsidies available not only for the repair of houses which local authorities have purchased under the Housing Acts and under the Bill, but also in respect of a comparatively small number of houses already owned by local authorities either as a result of purchase under the planning Acts oracquired by gift.
If any houses in these categories are brought within the clearance provisions of the Housing Acts they will attract the 1094 new subsidies in the same way as houses purchased by local authorities specifically for temporary repair or patching pending demolition. In all such cases, of course, it is a temporary repair or patching and it is done pending demolition of the houses later.
I hope that these Amendments will be of benefit to the local authorities because I fully realise that they have not got all that they would like or asked for. I am sorry about this because I, personally, regret such differences between us. I am deeply appreciative of the great work that they have accomplished in the field of new housing, and I would not like there to be any friction or difficulty affecting the future friendly co-operation between the Scottish Office and the local authority associations. However, it is not an unusual experience to be disappointed in such negotiations. As my right hon. Friend the Minister of Housing and Local Government pointed out this afternoon, people hardly if ever do come out of financial negotiations having got all that they wanted, and I hope that despite the disappointment of the local authority associations in this case their co-operation will continue.
I believe that the Government have made a fair decision. As I say, there will be reviews in the light of experience, and I should like to take this opportunity of asking local authorities to give the scheme a fair trial and to co-operate fully in the effort to deal with this pressing problem of dilapidation, in the interests of those who are at present forced to endure bad housing conditions until the time arrives when they can be rehoused.
§ 7.42 p.m.
§ Mr. A. Woodburn (Clackmannan and East Stirlingshire)
When the Secretary of State rose we rather hoped that he would elucidate a great many of the points which were left unexplained by his right hon. Friend this afternoon. The Minister of Housing and Local Government, I agree, far excelled the right hon. Gentleman in eloquent rhetoric and even evangelical enthusiasm about the Financial Resolution, but, at the end of it all we were not very clear how it was going to work. I hoped that when the Secretary of State came along, with his great practical sense of getting down to brass tacks, he would immediately explain how the local authorities would 1095 fare under this Resolution. It may be my fault, but I do not yet understand how it will all work and I hope to put one or two questions which the Minister may be able to clear up later.
I ought to say right away that we still feel that this is a wrong application of public money; that if public money is to be spent it ought to be spent for the best purpose possible. When we talk about spending money we are really allocating labour and materials for certain purposes in the community and, given a limited amount of labour and materials—or money, as it may be in the Resolution—it ought to be applied to the best purpose.
We hoped that we should be able to put down an Amendment to this Resolution suggesting that the amount should be put on a three-to-one ratio and not fifty-fifty. The local authorities feel that that is the right basis and would put the whole of their accounts on a more harmonious basis than would this new arrangement of fifty-fifty. The Secretary of State seems to think that this was a special case where the proportion of the local authority ought to be more and I could not, myself, follow his reasoning.
When a local authority contributes towards the cost of a new house, that new house is an asset when it is completed. The local authority is able to recover rent and rates for about 60 or 70 years. But any money which the local authority spends on these old houses is money down the drain. There can be no hope of recovering it in future. It is simply money spent to keep something ticking until it can be destroyed. In a case of that kind, I should have thought that, far from less money being devoted to local authorities, they have a very good claim to an even more generous consideration. There is no comparison between the burden borne by a local authority in the case of a new house and that borne by it in the case of one of these houses. New houses are assets, whereas these are liabilities, whether or not they are repaired.
The Minister of Housing and Local Government, who made the main case for the Resolution—and the Secretary of State, rightly, did not repeat all the arguments he used—seemed to say that he 1096 did not want to make this task too attractive. In other words, the Government do not want to make local authorities concentrate on maintaining these slums. That seemed to imply that he felt that, somehow or other, this was a waste of money. On the other hand, we must all recognise that if these houses are to exist and people are to be compelled to live in them—through nobody's fault—the conditions in which they live must be made more tolerable than they are in many cases. There is no reason why these people should suffer if something can be done to help them.
In spite of that, we should not want this money to be used to perpetuate the slums by offering any inducement for them to be continued. When the local authorities face this problem they are bound to say, "We do not know the true extent of the problem. We do not know with what costs we shall be faced if we tackle it." They may be able to estimate the cost of a new house, but when they start tinkering with an old house it may be that the first thing they do will involve them in far greater expense than if they had left the house alone. They may get involved in expenditure in respect of drains or roofs which makes the initial expenditure a mere bagatelle.
So the problem starts with a great deal of uncertainty for the right hon. Gentleman and, more especially, for local authorities. The difficulty is that, when they are dealing with this problem, the local authorities will say, "We are going to take the gamble of touching up this rickety old building and trying to make it habitable. If we succeed we shall get a grant from the Secretary of State. If we do not succeed and we cannot make the house habitable, or it falls down while we are repairing it, the Secretary of State will say, 'You have not made the house habitable, so you do not get anything for the site value or the work which you have done.' "That is a gamble for local authorities to take, if we assume the worst case.
A great deal has been said about the question of raising this sum to the present figure of £7 5s., but the sum is absolutely meaningless. No local authority knows that it is to get £7 5s. That depends on whether the Secretary of State varies it up or down. It would have been just as easy to say that grants will be made. 1097 according to the Secretary of State's discretion, to help local authorities to repair these houses. The figure means nothing at all. No local authority can calculate the cost of this work and be sure that it is going to get £7 5s. per house. How can any local authority feel any confidence in tackling this job if there is nothing it can count upon in the way of assistance from the right hon. Gentleman?
Where, in this Financial Resolution, is there any assurance to the local authority that it will get anything at all? It all depends on the right hon. Gentleman's discretion and, while we may feel that it is always a very generous discretion, the local authorities may not feel the same about it. Exactly what does it amount to in cash? The local authorities like to see a figure in their books and not something in the right hon. Gentleman's pleasant countenance. They must have something to count upon before embarking upon this work. When the Minister replies I hope that he will tell us where, in this Financial Resolution, there is any provision which allows a local authority to rely upon getting one penny when it starts this job.
The sum of £7 5s. per house on the average means a capital sum, I understand, of approximately £171. The local authority has to give another 100 per cent, on that, that is, £340. That is the average to be spent on each house. Is that not true?
The Joint Under-Secretary of State for Scotland (Commander T. D. Galbraith)
The right hon. Gentleman said £340 was to be spent?
§ Mr. Woodburn
No. If the Government are giving £171 for each house, if the capital sum on the average is £171 for patching up an old house, the local authority has to provide £171. That means £342.
No. The right hon. Gentleman has got the picture wrong. What we are estimating is that the average cost of repair will be £170. On that we estimate there will be a deficit of £14 10s., which, divided equally between the local authority and the Government, gives two shares of £7 5s.
§ Mr. Woodburn
The right hon. and gallant Gentleman is talking about the 1098 annual loss averaged into the capital sum, which is the money which is orginally spent, and which is about £171. if that is to be divided in two it means the local authority is to get only £85. Is that the argument?
The right hon. Gentleman could put the argument in that way. The total sum we estimate to be spent on the average is £170, and that, with loan charges, etc., taken into the calculation, works out at £14 10s. The estimated expenditure is £170.
§ Mr. Woodburn
Would the right hon. and gallant Gentleman tell me whether £14 10s. is the annual loss or £7 5s.? It does not mean £171. It means only £85. If that is the sum which is represented by £7 5s. it is contrary to the information given me when the Bill was started. However, the right hon. and gallant Gentleman has probably verified these figures. It means that £171 is to be spent on the average over a large number of houses. Thus we may have one house on which £10 is spent and another on which £300 is spent, but the local authority, if this were the fixed sum, would get on the average for each house £7 5s. towards its annual outlay. Am I right in that assumption?
Here we have a very large amount of money being expended on old houses. That money also means labour and valuable material, which, as I say, is going down the drain in a few years. So, for every six or seven old houses patched up, we could build a new house, with the same labour and material, and yet the Government actually think that this is the best way of devoting this money, putting it into patching up houses that will not last, instead of speeding up yet further house building. The labour and material must come from somewhere that are to go into patching up these houses.
The Minister of Housing and Local Government today said—indeed, the Bill says—that if the local authorities spend too little the Secretary of State may withhold any or all of the money. So that if a local authority is economical and tries to save money it may be penalised by the Secretary of State by his withholding all the money; whereas if it spends up to the limit presumably the Secretary of State will give it full grant. What is the position of a local authority? Under what conditions will the Secretary 1099 of State withhold all the grant that is mentioned here as a kind of promise?
I should like to know exactly how this is to work, because at the moment, by the terms of the Bill itself, the Government would save £ for £; for every £1 the local authority saves, if the local authority can do the work cheaply, the Government will save £1. Why should they want to take away even the £1 which is left? I cannot understand that part of the Bill—it may be my dullness in the matter—and I should like to hear what are the conditions and why local authorities are to be deprived of a grant when they have expended money in doing the job which the Government set out in the Bill.
The next point which strikes us is that there are authorities, such as Glasgow and Coatbridge, which have a terrible problem with these old houses. Greenock, the constituency of my right hon. Friend, is another authority with a great problem, and Port-Glasgow. These authorities will be faced with a much larger outlay in proportion to the total population than will cities like Edinburgh and Aberdeen and than some towns which have already practically solved their housing problem. Moreover, these authorities are usually carrying a very heavy rate burden. Is any special consideration to be given to them if they cannot afford the money to tackle the job?
If the £170 is spent on these houses, on average, is that to be only the first expenditure? What is to happen to the annual upkeep? If it is to cost as much as is claimed to maintain reasonably good houses in repair, and if the Government need a 40 per cent. increase in rents to help landlords to do that, what will be the cost to a local authority of maintaining these old houses in decent repair for 15 years? Is that to fall entirely on the local authority? Are rates to be raised on those people in the slum houses to cover the cost of the annual repairs necessary to keep the houses in working order for 15 years?
These are problems which face the local authorities. There are problems, too, in the minds of my hon. Friends, who will be putting special points arising from their own knowledge of local authorities and local authority housing. We feel that this problem has been tackled without 1100 sufficient thought having been given to the repercussions on the problem as a whole and we feel that the local authorities have not had sufficient time to grasp what is contained in this Financial Resolution and what it entails them in the way of expenditure. We appreciate the flexibility here, but flexibility has brought uncertainty. It is, therefore, a question of trying to reconcile the benefits of flexibility with the virtues of some sort of guarantee to the local authorities. That is the dilemma which I should like the right hon. Gentleman to solve when he explains the Bill in the clear, lucid terms which we are still waiting to hear.
§ 7.58 p.m.
§ Captain J. A. L. Duncan (South Angus)
The right hon. Member for East Stirlingshire (Mr. Woodburn) spoiled his argument by suggesting that local authorities had no guarantee of what they would get. The guarantee is in the Financial Resolution which we are discussing. I agree that there are provisions in the Financial Resolution for altering the rate of contribution but, as my right hon. Friend the Minister of Housing and Local Government said on the English Resolution, it is not his intention to alter the rate of contribution until experience has shown whether it is the right one or not.
We all know that we are treading on unfamiliar fields. It may be that the contributions will have to be altered but, as far as the present is concerned, to start off and for the next year or two local authorities have adequate ground—the right hon. Gentleman shakes his head—for proceeding on the assumption that they will get £7 5s. per house.
We all agree that there can be argument to and fro about the figures, but the Minister has said to local authorities, and again to us, that he will not honour the normal housing subsidy ratio of three to one; and that is what is disturbing local authorities. The hon. and gallant Gentleman has not addressed himself to that point.
§ Captain Duncan
I have only just started. The right hon. Gentleman made a statement and I was trying to controvert it. Let me come to the remarks of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Greenock (Mr. McNeil). He said that the local authorities—and my local authorities have said the same thing to me— 1101 want a three-to-one ratio instead of a fifty-fifty. The Secretary of State for Scotland and the Minister of Housing and Local Government on the English Resolution have both stated their case for a fifty-fifty grant. I am prepared to accept it on that basis. I do not think that we can argue that, because it is done on new houses, it is necessary for the three-to-one ratio to be applied to everything else.
Here is a case where we are on unfamiliar ground and we have to feel our way. It seems to me that my right hon. Friends have made out their case for the fifty-fifty grant. I hope that local authorities, although they may be disappointed, will use the provisions of the Bill to the utmost of their ability.
There are one or two questions that I should like to ask. One of the first things which a local authority has to do is to conduct a survey. I cannot go into that in great detail, but one of the burdens on a local authority, especially a small one, is the conduct of a survey. Is the cost of the survey in respect of the houses which the local authorities eventually purchase to be included in the contribution under this Financial Resolution?
Secondly, in purchasing under paragraph (a) (i) of the Money Resolution, what actually does the cost of the house include? Does it include the purchase of feu duties, ground annuals, and all the rest of it? One of the things that is worrying local authorities is the cost of demolition. Obviously it does not include that, because the house will remain inhabited, but does it include the paying out of feu duties, etc.
On paragraph (b) my right hon. Friend the Joint Under-Secretary of State gave some figures showing that the local authorities contribution and the State contribution came together to £14 10s. a year. That was based on the average cost of repair of a house of £171. Presumably there will be some rent, because these houses will continue to be inhabited. The right hon. Gentleman said that £171 was to be spent on a house at once on an average, but what is going to happen about the upkeep of the house during the next 15years? Will the rent not go some way to cover the cost of the annual upkeep afterwards. [An HON. MEMBER: "The rents will go up."] They will become 1102 local authority houses and free from rent control.
I am trying to keep within the terms of the Financial Resolutions, but these are some of the questions that are worrying local authorities. I personally am not capable of answering them, and I should like some answer from my right hon. Friend on these questions, because if we can get these matters absolutely clear, I think that it will be of great assistance to the local authorities in working the provisions. I think that with the present heavy rate burden which local authorities are having to put on the ratepayers, they are very chary of putting on any more. I am not at all certain that the ratepayer will be helped, as some local authorities think. If we can get it clear what the actual burdens will be, I believe they will be much more willing to accept and to work the Bill in the spirit in which it is meant to be operated.
The Bill is mainly designed for the wretched tenant who has to live in these houses for the next 15 years. That ought to be in the forefront of our minds, instead of our getting angry and disputatious amongst ourselves about the views of the local authorities. The Bill is for the benefit of tenants who ought to be rehoused but cannot be rehoused, and anything that ameliorates their position and makes these houses tolerable until the tenants can be rehoused in new, modern, decent houses ought to be done.
§ 8.6 p.m.
§ Mr. Thomas Steele (Dunbartonshire, West)
We would all agree with the hon. and gallant Member for Angus, South (Captain Duncan) that anything we can do to assist those who are living in these houses we would want to do. Quite frankly, as far as I can see, there is no great assistance in the Money Resolution to the tenants of these houses.
I was astounded when the Secretary of State indicated that, in his view, the Government had taken a fair decision, when, earlier, he had said that he had no idea of the cost and could give no knowledge of the basis of the figures. What we want from the Joint Under-Secretary of State tonight is much more information on how the Government have arrived at these figures, and especially the £7 5s.
1103 I have tried to work out the figures, and, for the purpose of my calculation, I have assumed that the local authority would pay about £100 per house for acquiring the site value.
§ Mr. Steele
I should imagine that £100 a house for site value is a fair figure in so far as the local authorities might, and possibly will, be asked to pay more.
The next question that I ask myself is what income the local authority will get out of this provision. Assume that the rent of the house is £15—again, I am being generous to the local authority. Add to the £15 the contribution under the Money Resolution of £7 5s. The resultant £22 5s. a year is the total contribution which the local authority will receive.
What is the local authority's obligation? First, there are owner's rates. As 8s. in the £, with a rent of £15, the local authority must find £6 a year. Under the Money Resolution, it must also find £4 10s. to cover the loan charges. I have calculated that if the acquisition of the site costs £100, the loan charges over 15 years would be £9 a year and the local authority would require to find £4 10s.
Supervision, collection of rent and various other things of that nature, leaving aside the question of maintenance, would amount to about £3 a year. Then there is the local authority's contribution under the Money Resolution of £7 5s. a year, and on my reckoning the obligations of the local authority add up to £20 15s. a year. That means that the local authority is left with £1 10s. per year out of income and expenditure. That takes no account in my calculation of the initial expenditure which the local authority must make to bring the house into a state of repair, and it takes no account of maintenance over the years.
At present, there is a statutory obligation on local authorities to set aside £8 per annum for the maintenance of the new house. If the Government have decreed in their wisdom that the local authority has to set aside that sum, how much are 1104 they going to decree that the local authority should set aside for the maintenance of a house which is about to be condemned? That is a question which has to be answered. Where is the local authority to get the money to do essential repairs? It must raise a loan, and that means more loan charges. For all these reasons we are entitled to know much more about how the Government have arrived at these calculations.
I find, in the borough of Dumbarton, without taking into account the county at all, there are roughly over 500 houses which would be affected by this Bill and on which a calculation would have to be made. If my calculation is correct—and I have gone into it as carefully as I can—then the whole burden is to rest upon the local authority for the repair and maintenance of these houses. All the Government are to do is to contribute the money to ensure that the owners' rates, the loan charges and the supervision are paid. There are already heavy charges for houses on the ratepayers of Dumbarton, and I think it is unfair that they should be asked to carry this extra burden.
May I say this to the right hon. and gallant Gentleman. He should not assume for one moment that once these houses have been taken over by the local authority it will get away with a bit of paint and a little patchwork here and there for repairs. All our experience shows—and I have in mind in this connection the Army huts taken over by the local authorities—that pressure will be brought to bear on local councillors to have proper repairs done to this old property. The hon. Member for Lanark (Mr. Patrick Maitland), who is not in his place tonight, has been getting a bit of publicity because he has been staying in some of these Army huts. If he intends to visit all the houses which will be affected by this Bill, then he will have a big job to do. When the local authorities become owners of this type of property there will be a moral justification for establishing some standard of repairs.
When a local authority examines this question and finds what it is to get it will say to the borough engineer or the architect. "Here is the problem; these are the houses; how much will it cost?" And the answer of the architect and the 1105 borough engineer will be, "What standard do you want?" Of course, when the borough engineer or the architect asks the local authority what the standard is to be, the local authority can only say that, because of the provision, they cannot have a very high standard and, in fact, that all the money will come from the ratepayers themselves.
The other thing is that although the Government say that the contribution of £7 5s. per year will come from them, if the local authority, in its wisdom, wants to get rid of the houses quickly, whenever it does so it loses the rent. It therefore becomes an added burden. So, when the local authorities look at this Financial Resolution, they will want to maintain these houses and get as much rent as they can over the 15 years. That is wrong. It should be the reverse: to encourage local authorities to get rid of the houses as quickly as possible. I hope that the Joint Under-Secretary of State will be able to give us more details as to how the Government arrived at these figures
§ 8.16 p.m.
§ Mr. James McInnes (Glasgow, Central)
When the Secretary of State was introducing this Financial Resolution I interjected to inquire whether he would indicate where precisely under Clause 4 he was given the authority to increase or to lower the sum specified. At that time the right hon. Gentleman was referring to the 50 per cent. of the annual loan charge and to the £7 5s. annual payment over a period of 15 years.
The right hon. Gentleman referred me to subsection 2 (b). In the absence of the right hon. Gentleman I presume that his right hon. and gallant Friend will confirm that the power contained in the Bill to increase or to lower the sums relates only to paragraph (b) and not to (a), in other words it relates only to the contribution covering 15 years and does not operate in relation to the annual payment equal to one half of the annual loan charge. To that extent—I do not say intentionally—the right hon. Gentleman certainly misled the Committee when he indicated that he possessed the power to put these subsidies either up or down. Many figures have been floating about this evening and I challenge the right hon. Gentleman on the figures which he himself has provided on capital cost.
I think the hon. Gentleman is being rather unfair to my right hon. Friend, who drew his attention to the relevant part of the Clause. If he reads that, the hon. Gentleman will see that it refers directly to paragraph (b). My right hon. Friend was not misleading the Committee.
§ Mr. McInnes
The right hon. and gallant Gentleman himself has not caught up with the position, because that is what I was saying. The Secretary of State was dealing at the time with the annual payment equal to one half of the annual loan charge and to the £7 5s. as subsidy. In respect of both he indicated that he possessed power under Clause 4 either to increase or to reduce, but the fact emerges that he does not possess this power in respect of the annual payment so far as the one half of the annual loan charge is concerned. It only relates, as the Minister has indicated, to paragraph (b), namely, to the £7 5s. contribution.
I want to deal with the figures which the Minister himself has provided. As to the capital cost figures, which were estimated at £155 at the time but because of the increased subsidy are now going up to £170, I understand that these figures work out so that the loan charge will be approximately £14, maintenance and management £11 and owner's rates at £7 5s. on the present rental of £13 10s., making a total outgoing of £29 7s. 6d., from which we deduct the average new rent, which, incidentally, increases from £13 10s. to £16 4s.
Surely the right hon. and gallant Gentleman has not failed to appreciate that if the new rent becomes £16 4s. 6d. the owner's rate is entirely wrong. In other words, the owner's rate of £5 0s. 1d. should be £6 2s. So that to that extent the Government have placed right away on the local authority an additional liability of another £1. The local authority will have to pay not £7 5s. but £8 7s. against the Government's £7 5s.
But that is not all. The local authority will be compelled to meet many other charges. As the hon. and gallant Member for Angus, South (Captain Duncan) indicated, they will be involved in taking a complete survey of the slum problem in their area. They will be involved in the preparation of reports which will mean additional staffs for the medical officers, and they will be involved in one hundred 1107 and one other items that are not mentioned in the Bill.
Why is it that when the Government deal with the best type of property which still remains with private enterprise they agree to stabilise the owner's rate and also the tenant's rate so far as any increased rental is involved? Why do they not adopt the same procedure with the local authority tenants? Why do they not say that when local authorities take over these slum houses to repair them, if they impose any increased rentals as owners they will not be liable and the tenants also will not be liable for any increased rates in connection with the increased rentals? To that extent local authorities are justified in their demand that a proper ratio to meet adequately the inevitable outlay in which they will be involved should be on a basis of three to one. Even at this stage I hope that the Minister will be disposed to reconsider the matter.
§ Mr. John Rankin (Glasgow, Tradeston)
On a point of order. Are we to have the privilege, Sir Charles, of hearing any speeches from Government back-benchers in support of a Government Motion?
§ 8.25 p.m.
§ Mr. Cyril Bence (Dunbartonshire, East)
The local authority of Clydebank is opposed entirely to this Money Resolution. Not only does it consider that the ratio of so-called fifty-fifty mentioned in the Resolution is inadequate, but it is of the opinion that in the ultimate analysis the ratio will be probably three to one—three for the local authority and one for the Treasury. It is further concerned that the Treasury here definitely limits its liability, but the liability of the local authority is quite unlimited.
In respect of the burgh of Clydebank, I want to quote an extract from a report made to a Royal Commission in 1917. This is on housing construction in the burgh of Clydebank and will give the background to the tremendous financial problem which will be faced in the burgh if the Bill becomes law. Evidence was given by a Mr. George Ross, the sanitary inspector of Clydebank, no relation, I 1108 believe, of my hon. Friend the Member for Kilmarnock (Mr. Ross). He stated:any difficulties which have arisen in connection with the provision of adequate housing accommodation have been caused through the speculation in building sites and that most of the land in the burgh is held by six separate owners and may be purchased at from £400 to £2,000 per acre, representing a feu duty of £20 to £150….But this first price asked for the land does not end the question. Mr. Ross stated that after the land has been acquired the building speculator comes in. He stated that as a rule ten tenements of three or four storey's in height are erected on each acre each tenement having from nine to twelve separate houses. When these tenements are finished, a feu duty or ground rent of £10 to £35 is created on each, which gives a feu duty or ground rent ranging from £100 to £350 per acre per annum….
§ The Chairman
The hon. Member is going a little beyond the Money Resolution. He did state that he hoped to raise this matter in his Second Reading speech, but he cannot raise it now.
§ Mr. Bence
I asked your permission, Sir Charles, because this is the background of the difficulties of Clydebank. Ifyou will permit me to complete the quotation, although I admit that it has nothing to do with the Money Resolution, it constitutes the background of the complaint of Clydebank against the Money Resolution. The quotation continues:When these tenements are finished a feu duty or ground rent of £10 to £35 is created on each which gives a feu duty or ground rent ranging from £100 to £350 per acre per annum, representing a capital charge for land of from £2,000 to £7,000 per acre….In reply to a question put to him, Mr. Ross stated that he thought the feu duties in the burghs and the practice of constituting ground annuals, or sub-feu duties over and above are serious drawbacks to building and that the latter isone of the worst features in connection with the building trade….Mr. Ross put in an appendix…giving a table showing in the case of several properties purchased and feued between the years 1888 and 1896 the rentals and the amount thereof which was composed of the rental of the land including the sub-feu duties imposed. These showed the proportion of ground rent to total rental as ranging from 8.51 to as high as 23.15 per cent.That is the proportion of the feu to the rent.In twelve of the twenty properties the ground rent accounted for over one-sixth of the total rental, while in four it was actually between one-fifth and one-fourth….
§ The Chairman
I have been very lenient with the hon. Member and he has 1109 said a great deal that is quite irrelevant to the Money Resolution. I hope he will now get on to the business before the Committee.
§ Mr. Bence
I will terminate the quotation there because really that is the end. I have given the right hon. and gallant Gentleman the background, and I want also to tell him that a number of these feus in Clydebank have not been collected on an average of from four to 11 years. Most of the properties are practically derelict and when the burgh takes them over—I could quote a particular instance of the cost involved—it has been asked to pay the arrears to the feu superior in one case where the feu was £60 a year.
The owner, the feu superior, refuses to sell unless the burgh is prepared to pay the arrears. There is no provision to reimburse the local authority for the cost of acquiring feus. When we assess the site value of properties we find that the site value of an acre of land in a feu has not been collected for eight years and the bond holder has not collected the interest.
As soon as it gets hold of a house for repair or demolition, is the burgh of Clydebank to be responsible far a feu or a feu superior which is not collected for 11 years? Are the ratepayers of Clydebank to rescue the bad debts of the owners of the land? That is what we in Clydebank want to know. We are already paying a heavy enough burden for the replacements due to the blitz. Are we now to recoup the bad debts due to the neglect of the owners of the property during the last 50 years because they have mortgaged their property and used the money raised to invest in more lucrative enterprises and allowed their property to go to rot? We in Clydebank want to know that.
The people and the local authority of Clydebank are deeply indignant that there should be imposed upon them the necessity to acquire bad debts and to patch up these houses at the cost of the ratepayers and the local authority, whereas the landlord and the landowner who have never collected their feu have the prospect of collecting it at the expense of the local authority.
I hope that this Financial Resolution will be taken back and a more just one 1110 drawn up to help local authorities in Scotland who are suffering from the neglect of the last 70 years under Tory rule.
§ 8.31 p.m.
§ Mr. R. Brooman-White (Rutherglen)
I rise mainly to reassure the hon. Member for Tradeston (Mr. Rankin) that he will hear support for this Money Resolution from this side of the Committee. I do not wish to follow the hon. Member for Dunbartonshire, East (Mr. Bence) into the very intricate municipal affairs of Clydebank, but I wish to refer to the last point he made—that the incidence of feu duties represented a serious problem and had given rise to certain concern. I hesitate to embark on a legal argument, as I am no expert on these matters. If I am wrong I shall no doubt be corrected from the benches opposite, or from the Front Bench.
I explored that point a few days ago with lawyers in my own constituency. As I understand the situation, the hon. Member for Dunbartonshire, East is under a misapprehension. I understand that the valuer will value the estate and the feu, and the first claim on the money available goes to the holder of the feu, any residual money going to the man who is at present owning the site. If the value of the site is virtually nil the present holder of the site will get nothing. If there is anything to come it will go to the holder of the feu first.
In fact, the ratepayer is not being mulcted. The value of the feu and the site will be assessed by the valuer as one unit of money. I see lawyers shaking their heads, but that is the situation as I understand it as a result of explanation given me by other lawyers. No doubt we shall be given a more authoritative explanation at a later stage. The first claim to that money is that of the owner of the feu and the residue goes to the present owner of the site. There are two people with a claim on the site, and prior claim is with the holder of the feu. Of course, the present owner of the site will get nothing for a site that is, in fact, valueless.
§ Mr. A. C. Manuel (Central Ayrshire)
This is a most important point, which I hope the hon. Gentleman's right hon. Friend will clear up. The hon. Member says that the ground superior will have first call on the money which it costs 1111 to acquire the site. Is the hon. Gentleman speaking about the arrears of feu duties that have accumulated, or is he trying to indicate that there will be complete purchase of the feu rights from the ground superior for all future time by the local authority? That is a point we must have clarified. If the hon. Member is telling us that that is the case I am pleased to hear it, but I am not sure that he is correct.
§ The Chairman
Order. This is quite beyond the Money Resolution, which only authorises the payment of money by Parliament.
§ Mr. Manuel
On a point of order. This is a most important point. The 50 per cent. indicated in the Money Resolution is expressly to be used for the purchase on a site valuation basis. All these houses dealt with in the Bill are property and the point that the hon. Member for Rutherglen (Mr. Brooman-White) is dealing with is whether the 50 per cent. acquisition cost proposal includes feu duties.
§ The Chairman
I did not say it was not important, I said it was out of order. This Money Resolution authorises the payment of money by Parliament. There is no question of going back into the past.
§ Mr. Ross
Surely if a local authority buys over property under a feu charter it becomes responsible for the payment of feu duties and it can only be feu duties on this property. From that point of view the money to be provided by the Government for the maintenance of this property must contain something to meet the charge of feu duties.
§ The Chairman
It may be in order in other respects, but it is certainly not in order under the Money Resolution.
§ Mr. Thomas Fraser (Hamilton)
Is not the cost of the feu part of the cost of the house specifically referred to in the Money Resolution? This contribution made by the Secretary of State is 50 per cent.of the annual loan charges referable to the cost of purchase of each such house.1112 This cost of feu is part of the cost of the house. The local authorities have made no bones about it in consulting some of us about this Bill. I submit to you, Sir Charles—and I appreciate it is a difficult point—that the cost of the feu is an integral part of the cost of the house.
§ Mr. Woodburn
Further to that point. In the original Act it is defined. What is called the purchase of a house is the purchase at cleared site value, that is, as if there were no house there. Therefore, clearly the purchase has nothing to do with the building. There is no money paid for the building at all. One purchases only at cleared site value, according to the terms of the Act to which this refers, and I take it that that refers to the purchase of the ground or the feu.
§ Sir William Darling (Edinburgh, South)
Further to that point of order, Sir Charles. May I direct your attention to paragraph (a) (i)? The Money Resolution provides for money for the purchase not of a feu but, as it specifically says,a contribution equal to one-half of the annual loan charges referable to the cost of purchase of each house….I have yet to learn that a house includes a feu.
§ Mr. Woodburn
Further to that point, Sir Charles. May I ask you to ask the hon. Member for Edinburgh, South (Sir W. Darling) to read that part of the Bill referring to the definition of the purchase of a house, which is the purchase at cleared site value?
§ The Chairman
I am not a legal expert and I can only go by what is on the paper before me. There is nothing on it about feu duties.
May I put this point, which is not a point of law, but common sense? I think that if the Secretary of State for Scotland were consulted, he would agree that in his consultations with the local authorities he certainly allowed the local authorities to make representations upon this very point of feu duties. Perhaps you, Sir Charles, will consult the right hon. Gentleman.
§ The Chairman
I am working on what is in front of me and there is nothing about feu duties in this Financial Resolution.
§ Mr. Woodburn
May I further submit that it depends on the definition of the purchase of a house as it exists in this Financial Resolution? That definition must be sought in other parts of the Bill. The definition in other parts of the Bill makes it clear that this has nothing to do with the purchase of a property but that it refers to the purchase of the cleared site value as if the house were not there. One is paying nothing at all for the building which exists on the site.
§ The Chairman
I am sorry to be difficult. I am here only to help and to do my duty. I personally do not mind what is discussed, but it appears to me that there is nothing about feu duties in the Resolution, and under the Orders under which I work I cannot allow it to be discussed.
§ Mr. T. Fraser
I did not intend to say anything about this, but I must point out that the Secretary of State for Scotland will not deny that the cost of the feu is part of the cost of the house. He could put us all right and give guidance to us. If he says that the cost of the feu has nothing to do with the cost of the house, we shall have to have another argument at some other time about the cost of the feu; but if he says that the cost of the feu is in fact an integral part of the cost of the house referred to in the Money Resolution, then I submit that he will be giving guidance which we must take if we are to do our duty as Members of Parliament. I suggest that the ball has passed to the Secretary of State.
§ Sir W. Darling
Might I draw attention to Clause 35 of the Bill in which a house is described? It states:…means the whole subjects comprised in a controlled tenancy or prospective controlled tenancy, or the whole subjects of which a tenant retains possession as statutory tenant.That is the only relevant reference and I submit that it has some relation to the observations which have been made.
§ Mr. Rankin
It is clear that the Committee is in a difficulty as to interpretation. I submit that, in fairness to the Committee, the Secretary of State or the competent legal adviser, the Lord Advocate, should now come to our rescue and tell us exactly what is intended by this phrase in the Money Resolution.
These are matters which will be of some importance at some stage during the discussion 1114 of the Bill. Whether or not they enter into the questions for discussion on the Money Resolution is not for me to judge, but perhaps it would be helpful if I were to say that a new basis of compensation will shortly be discussed with the local authority associations, the property-owning interests and the other interests concerned. It is hoped to include these when dealing with the forthcoming Town and Country Planning Bill.
§ Mr. Woodburn
The Joint Under-Secretary has now referred to something which is to come in the future. I think we can all agree that that is not what we are discussing now. I take it that there must be a definition of what is meant in the Money Resolution by the purchase of a house. What the Joint Under-Secretary has been asked to do is confirm or deny that the purchase of a house under the Resolution refers not to any property upon the land but to the purchase of the site value—that is, the purchase of the land as if it were a cleared site. In my recollection, that is the definition in the original Act. Now that the Lord Advocate is present, we can have a clear legal definition of all this.
§ Mr. J. McGovern (Glasgow, Shettleston)
I beg to move, "That the debate be now adjourned."
I do so because we have arrived at such a difficult position that there is no person here who can tell us exactly whether we are allowed to discuss the feu under the Financial Resolution. As there is such a difference of opinion and so much confusion, might we not reasonably adjourn at this stage so that the matter may be cleared up? Then when we come back, after the Easter Recess, we can have an interpretation from the highest authority and a fresh approach to the matter. We can consider it after we have had a legal interpretation.
§ The Chairman
The reason is simply that I am not willing to accept it. It 1115 seems to me that if the Money Resolution had been drafted to make it clear that feu duties were included it would have been all right, but, in my submission, as a layman, they are not included in the Money Resolution, and my Ruling is that they are not to be discussed. I have listened very patiently to the arguments. I may be wrong, but that is my opinion.
With great respect, Sir Charles, during the earlier proceedings in Committee on the comparable English Resolution discussion relating to the site was not only permitted but had to take place. It would be utterly incomprehensible that a local authority, because of a difference between Scots and English law, should address itself to the purchase of a site without having regard to the feu. I go so far as to invite the Secretary of State to tell us whether he would approve of such an undertaking. The attached subject of feu must be inherent in a Scottish definition of a cleared site. A purchase could not be carried out in any other fashion.
I wonder whether I can help the Committee further. As the right hon. Gentleman the Member for East Stirlingshire (Mr. Woodburn) correctly said, under the existing law relating to the compulsory acquisition by a local authority of an unfit house, it is the cleared site value which must be taken. I should have thought that if one purchased on that basis or on any other basis one purchased subject to the burdens which were on the land at the time. That appears to me to be the correct situation.
§ The Chairman
I am very glad to have this guidance. Feu duty is, in fact, in order on the Money Resolution. I beg the Committee's pardon.
§ Mr. Rankin
The Government Front Bench have behaved scandalously and have wasted the time of the Committee. That information could have been given at the beginning of the debate.
§ Mr. Brooman-White
Some time ago I was saying that this was an extremely intricate point. I am now aware that it is even more intricate than I imagined. Although it may be in order, I have no intention of delving any deeper into the problem, but shall be glad to leave it to be elucidated by hon. Members with greater legal and municipal experience than I have.
I have been surprised in our discussion so far to find such readiness on the part of hon. Members opposite to suggest, as did the hon. Member for Shettleston (Mr. McGovern), that the Bill should be withdrawn and delayed and that the Money Resolution should be taken back, for the object of the Measure, as hon. Members opposite know well, is to mitigate the conditions under which people are living in Scottish slums and to expedite the clearing of the slums.
§ Mr. Brooman-White
The object of much of the argument of hon. Members opposite has been to have the Resolution withdrawn and to delay the progress of the Bill.
We have been asked whether the money is being directed towards a worthy objective. We could find no better objective than the clearance of slums and, while we are waiting for the slums to be cleared, the improvement of the conditions of the buildings, so far as that is possible to make them a little more tolerable for the occupants. With regard to the fifty-fifty formula, hon. Gentlemen opposite have been pleading for a bigger allocation for the local authorities. These matters are subject to negotiation, and a certain advance has been made in the position of the local authorities. I believe I am correct in saying that the fifty-fifty ratio is the working formula for most legislation at the present time. [HON MEMBERS: "No."] The old principle was three to one, but, in fact, I am informed that, certainly in the area I represent, and on the advice of people in that area whom I have consulted in the last few days, it works out at about fifty-fifty at present.
If hon. Gentlemen opposite object to that formula, they are at least aware that the arrangements are flexible, and there 1117 is room for a certain amount of easement. Easement has already been given and it does not seem to me that the precise percentage, and the precise allocation of responsibility as between Government and local authority on the financial side, is anything like an adequate ground for the deep-rooted objections which hon. Gentlemen opposite have been professing to express against this Measure as a whole.
On the figure of £171, there has been statistical argument almost as complex as the argument on the feu duty, but this figure of £171 is a tentative figure. If hon. Gentlemen opposite do not think that it is adequate or that it is too great, they have certainly advanced no arguments to substantiate their point of view. I do not think that hon. Gentlemen opposite can criticise this figure unless they can produce some actual facts to illustrate that more than is necessary to patch up these houses to a reasonable degree, or that the £171 provides either too much or too little for that purpose.
If hon. Gentlemen think that this figure is too little, let them advance that argument. But that figure has been laid down in the Resolution as the best which expert opinion can at present agree as reasonable. If it is found, in practice, that this figure is either too high or too low, then adjustments can be made later. That seems to me an empirical and sensible approach to the problem.
I thought there was much more substance in the point made by the hon. Member for Dunbartonshire, West (Mr. Steele)—a point which I have, indeed, raised myself in my own inquiries about the probable effect of these proposals. The hon. Gentleman wondered whether the payment of this sum over a period of 15 years would be a certain disincentive to the rapid clearance of these sites—that, money having been paid out by the local authorities, they would not make the maximum progress in clearing the sites because of the desire, perhaps, to draw contributions for the longest period to ease their own burdens.
I am assured that that is extremely unlikely to happen. Local authorities practically everywhere in Scotland are desperately pressed for land on which to build, and, if they can get these sites cleared, it will be in their interests and in 1118 the interests of the community to do so as quickly as possible. I hope that that will materialise as a fact.
Finally, the right hon. Member for East Stirlingshire (Mr. Woodburn) said in his opening remarks, and I think most rightly, that the problem lay in striking a just balance between, on the one hand, having a Bill which is too rigid, and, on the other, one which will leave the local authorities in much doubt or uncertainty. I have heard nothing in the arguments of hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite which leads me to accept the view that this Resolution, as drafted, does not strike as reasonable a mean between these two obvious difficulties as can be achieved.
§ 8.55 p.m.
§ Mr. William Ross (Kilmarnock)
I congratulate the hon. Member for Rutherglen (Mr. Brooman-White) on his Casabianca act. However, I do not think that he was too successful in his support of the Government, for he managed to tangle his Front Bench in a wonderful argument about feu duties. I think it is an adverse reflection on the quality of our Scottish Ministers when they cannot clear up such an obvious point within a few minutes. If a new site has to be bought for redevelopment the feu has to be purchased. To buy the feu one has to pay a sum equivalent to the annual feu duty for 20 years.
The first point I want to make is this. It has been said once or twice from the Government Front Bench that they did not want to make this proposition too attractive for the local authorities. But the local authorities do not want to under-take it at all. The whole idea that local authorities should become owners of slums is repugnant to them. If the Secretary of State wants local authorities to do anything about this matter—and this is a permissive part of the Bill—he had better make the proposition sufficiently attractive for them and for the general ratepayers to accept the principle of becoming owners of probably some of the worst houses in Scotland.
Apart from the hope that local authorities have of wiping out these slums, they will, of course, appreciate that any labour engaged on patching up these slums will detract from their ability to go forward 1119 with new housing. That is another matter which makes the proposition unattractive to local authorities. The Secretary of State must, therefore, face the financial implications and not merely say, "Well, the best thing is to make a balance, and fifty-fifty is the best balance." There is no justification for applying that balance here.
Then I come to the Money Resolution itself. We are told that the Government are to makea contribution equal to one-half of the annual loan charges referable to the cost of purchase of each such house"—which includes the purchase of the feu duty—for each financial year in which any part of the house is used for housing purposes.But we are also told that the calculation of the annual loan charges is based on a period of 60 years. Therefore, the responsibility of the local authority is definitely one of paying this loan charge for 60 years. The responsibility of the Government is to pay only a share of that over, perhaps, three years or five years, and at the most 15 years. Let us say that it is 10 years. For 10 years the annual loan charge will be borne fifty-fifty. But for the remaining 50 years the entire loan charge falls upon the ratepayers. I do not think that that is a very attractive proposition for the Scottish local authorities.
The second part of the Resolution deals with the money that has been spent on bringing a house into tolerable condition and the maintenance of such a house over 15 years. We are told that somehow or other—no one knows quite how—the Government have arrived at a figure which over 15 years is to cost about £171. The hon. Member for Rutherglen asked us to say what we thought ought to be the figure. Really, it shows an amazing wandering around—[An HON. MEMBER: "The bush."] Well, I do not know if St. Andrew's House could be called the bush. It is not a cleared site, but it is time that it was a development area. The Government started off with a figure of £5 5s. Then they changed it and reached a figure of £6 10s. Now they have come to the Committee with a figure representing the Government contribution or £7 5s.
1120 It is clear that the Government under-estimated this matter from the start and moved always in the direction of giving more; which demonstrates to me that they are convinced even now that they are not properly meeting their obligation to make the scheme sufficiently attractive to local authorities. The Government have denied that the three-to-one proportion should work here, but why should it not? We actually have it in other parts of the Bill. An hon. Gentleman opposite said that the three-to-one proportion was out of date, but if he looks at the modernisation part of the Bill he will see that the Government will give a subsidy of up to £400 for modernising a house. How is that money to be paid? Three parts by the Government and one part by the local authority. The same is true for new housing.
We are now talking about housing that has to be put into habitable condition for 15 years. There are other houses that local authorities are concerned about, temporary ones made of aluminium and other substances, and these houses were built to last only for 10 years. What was the ratio of the contributions there? Three to one, being three parts from the Government and one from the local authority. When providing temporary accommodation there is every reason why it should be at least at a ratio of three to one.
The hon. Gentleman who spoke last, and who was probably the first back bench Scottish Tory to speak, said that this was a worthy object on which to spend money, namely, to clear the slums; but the object is not to clear the slums at all but to patch up the slums. We shall never make them any better, as the hon. Member for Edinburgh, South (Sir W. Darling) knows. We had a Rural Workers Housing Act, under which we actually did this work of patching up. The report of the advisory council on this matter said that the money spent in that way under that Act was a great waste of public money.
§ Sir W. Darling
If there was a cottage in the country which had no bath or water closet, but now has them because of that Act, is that patching?
§ Mr. Ross
The fact remains that the advisory council said that there was a grave waste of public money, and that is the point we have to face now. It would be a waste of money to patch up some of these houses because they are ancient monuments and the Financial Resolution is not directed towards doing that. In the village of Kilmaurs money was spent upon houses that were put up in the 17th century, and it did not make good houses out of them. The same thing may happen with some of the slums, and local authorities will see the frustration of their hopes. The object behind this Money Resolution is not sufficiently attractive to local authorities. It will dash their hopes and involve their ratepayers in a considerable rise in rates.
§ 9.4 p.m.
§ Sir William Darling (Edinburgh, South)
I am disappointed with the somewhat petulant approach of the Opposition to this Money Resolution.
§ Sir W. Darling
I did not know that the hon. Gentleman was so allergic to my personal presence. I shall consider whether to cultivate his society a little more in the future—as he seems to desireit—with a view to relieving him of these petulant depressions. I was not referring to the hon. Gentleman personally but to the Opposition generally, which seems to have shown a lack of its usual perspicacity in approaching a practical matter.
None would deny that this is a difficult business. I am not throwing any brickbats at the Opposition, but no previous attempt has ever been made to deal on such a wide front with all the aspects of the housing situation. This Government have made that attempt—other Governments in our place might have done the same thing—on three lines. First of all, they have built a large number of new houses, and they now propose to attack the other two disadvantages in the housing situation, the slums and the rents. They are doing a very bold and comprehensive thing in making that attempt.
1122 Just as in the building of new houses many changes were made over the years in the amount of subsidy granted to induce local authorities to build, so, in this instance, there has been a great deal of giving and taking and experiment. I think that my right hon. Friend has put up a very good introductory proposal. Just as in the early days, when we were beginning to build houses, the grants were comparatively low, so—
§ Sir W. Darling
—in the same way, trial and error will enable us to arrive at the proper subsidy which will induce the action required to improve the housing position of our people. We want to start somewhere, but my quarrel with hon. Members opposite is that they do not want to start at all. Their contribution to the debate is merely to say that this shall not be done, and that this evil shall be perpetuated.
My right hon. Friend has made a start and has reached a good deal of agreement with local authorities on the matter. I speak with a knowledge of local authority experience which is certainly not inferior to that of any hon. Members opposite who profess, without ever having been members of a local authority, to speak on their behalf. I was on the Convention of Royal Burghs for three years; I was connected with the City Council, and chairman of it for three years.
This is a proposition which, by and large, offers inducements to local authorities who are alive to the inadequacy of housing conditions in their areas. It will start them in their action, but it will not do the whole job. I believe that there will be further adjustments. My right hon. Friend has already made one adjustment. But what we want is to get started right away and to give some inducement to the labour force available to improve the condition of housing.
This proposition will not revolutionise the housing situation, but it will represent a step forward, and from that step forward we shall advance still further. Hon. Members opposite have no alternative plan to offer. Is nothing to be done? I suggest that in the few years left to my right hon. Friend in his office he is right to make a start. He has made a start on 1123 very satisfactory lines. I know of no local authority which will not do something along those lines. Some will do more than others, but all will act. It is action that we want, and this Financial Resolution will produce it.
§ 9.9 p.m.
§ Mr. A. C. Manuel (South Ayrshire)
We are always pleased to see the hon. Member for Edinburgh, South (Sir W. Darling) in the Chamber during the course of our debates, and to hear his contributions. However, I am afraid that I cannot accept his explanation of the reception which this Money Resolution will receive from Scottish local authorities. As the hon. Gentleman knows, we both entered local authority work in, I believe, the same year.
§ Mr. Manuel
We must meet and compare our experiences. I therefore claim as much right to speak as a member of a local authority, both in experience and time, as the hon. Member.
We can take this matter a little further. In his opening remarks the Secretary of State for Scotland indicated that the Under-Secretary of State had had further meetings with the Scottish local authority associations, but did not reveal what discussions had taken place. The Secretary of State did indicate that the local authorities were not too pleased, but, of course, that is in direct contradiction to what the hon. Member for Edinburgh, South was saying. I would like the Under-Secretary of State to tell us something about this latter meeting he has had with the Scottish local authority associations. I do not want the impressions of the city of Edinburgh to be conveyed to this Committee as being in any way representative of the feeling in the other cities in Scotland—
§ Mr. Manuel
Far less than the county council associations or the Convention of Royal Burghs. I do know that individual authorities in Ayrshire, many of them not of my political persuasion, have discussed this Bill. I should not be surprised to learn that the City of Perth has not also protested to the Secretary of State and asked for the withdrawal of this Bill. 1124 I know that their legal adviser—not a councillor—is a capable representative.
§ Colonel Alan Gomme-Duncan (Perth and East Perthshire)
The leader of the City of Perth is a legal representative?
§ Mr. Manuel
I understood that it was common knowledge that where a city or local authority was dominated by Tory influence it was always led by the nose by its legal official and had no mind of its own.
However, if we could have some information about this meeting with the local authorities it would certainly be helpful in determining how we should make up our minds tonight. After all, we are here representing Scotland, not the Tory Government and its half-hatched plans. Those plans seemingly have had little or no thought given to them because we have already had a departure. The first Money Resolution has been altered; we have had a jump from £6 to £7 5s. We have had, in an unguarded moment, the Under-Secretary of State having to indicate that there will be still another change at some future date which will have repercussions of the moneys allocated to the local authorities.
What sort of way is this to introduce legislation dealing with money allocations to Scottish local authorities? We really do not know what we are discussing because, while there is a Money Resolution to which we are now supposed to devote our attention, we are told that there will be something else coming later which will cover the work which, presumably, this Resolution is to cover in its present form.
I want to consider this three-to-one ratio that the local authorities wanted. The local authorities know the job will be difficult. The rates are soaring in every local authority area in Scotland where they are trying to undertake the work which they should normally under-take in the course of the financial year. They are having difficulty because of that soaring rate, and, undoubtedly, if they tackle, or try to tackle, this the proposals in the Bill in any realistic way it will cause a rate increase. I am convinced of that from the information which I have.
The Secretary of State said that he did not think that this three-to-one ratio was very good. He said that it was all 1125 right for new houses, where the initial expenditure was heavy. But does he not think that, although the initial expenditure is heavy, there is not so great an on-cost expenditure for a new house, year by year, after one has let it, as there is with this old type of dwelling, where, although the initial expenditure is not so heavy, one has more annual repair expenditure than one has with a brand new house, with everything lasting for a fair number of years before it needs renewal? That line of argument is not very good.
We should be clear about this £7 5s. for patching up, because certain people inhabiting these houses are imagining that they will get much more done than will be the case. This is to be a question of wind-proofing and making watertight, and nothing else, and it will be fairly difficult with the money allowable under the Resolution even to put this elementary provision into operation. Therefore, when the Secretary of State talks about this fifty-fifty share in the annual upkeep, he should not forget that local authorities are to be shoved into an unenviable position.
If the local authorities do what the Government want them to do these houses will come under the ownership and control of those authorities. The tenants will immediately expect from the local authorities treatment which they have never had from the slum landlords. Continual representations will be made, through local councillors, to borough council officials. People will want the houses put into a better condition than they are in today, and rightly so. We are to have this fifty-fifty basis, with £7 5s. coming from the Government and an equal sum from the local authorities. No one can indicate to what extent that £7 5s. will be exceeded in each year, but I am confident that it will be exceeded. The Secretary of State talks glibly about a fifty-fifty share, but it will not be a fifty-fifty share at all.
I was interested in what the Under-secretary of State revealed—although he was not very forthcoming—about the feu duty basis. The Bill does not mention the cleared site value—
The law already exists, and the hon. Member, who is a great expert on local authority matters, should know what the law is. 1126 It was enunciated to him for his benefit by his right hon. Friend.
§ Mr. Manuel
The words used by my right hon. Friend in making his point were the proper words, but I am now dealing with the words in the Bill. The Bill does not mention the word "cleared" and I do not think the Government mean "cleared." They mean "acquisitioned." The Under-Secretary of State, in a not very forthcoming manner, said that he thought the purchase outright of the ground burden would be accomplished by the local authority in the cost of acquisition. Can he give the Committee any idea what he thinks will be the average cost in the City of Glasgow for buying outright the feu or the ground burden on any particular site?
Has he gone into the matter in order to decide the fifty-fifty acquisition cost to be shared with the local authorities? What does he think is the average cost of purchasing out-right the feu duties from the ground superior in the City of Glasgow? What will it be in the small burgh areas? An average surely can be struck for each of these areas, and I think that the acquisition cost should have been on that basis.
There is another consideration that ought to be borne in mind in connection with this £7 5s. for a period of 15 years. The local authorities hitherto, in dealing with this type of slum property, have been able, when serving a closing or demolition order, to say to the previous owner of the slum, "You will demolish the dwelling on that site, and if you do not under our slum clearance law, we can serve notice on you and clear the site and recover the cost from you."
Once the local authority becomes the owner of the site it is to be left with the slum building which it has to demolish, and there is nothing in the Bill about costs of demolition. That is another on-cost to the local authorities in connection with site acquisition, which they will need to meet before the sites can be used for any other purpose. I hope that we shall have some information about that, and be told whether the Joint Under-Secretary of State could also reconsider the cost of demolition to help the local authorities in this matter.
§ 9.22 p.m.
§ Mr. James H. Hoy (Leith)
I want to consider the compensation or share the Government have to pay to local authorities, because, as has been said by my hon. Friend the Member for Central Ayrshire (Mr. Manuel), as well as by my hon. Friend the Member for Kilmarnock (Mr. Ross), there is still some dubiety as to the Government's intention. Let me quote what was said by the Secretary of State on the Second Reading of the Bill:Clause 4 provides for Exchequer contributions of £6 10s. per house for 15 years and for the Exchequer to meet 50 per cent. of the cost of acquisition at site values."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 9th December, 1953; Vol. 521. c. 2002.]I am certain the Bill does not say that. Later the right hon. Gentleman read something out of the Bill which appeared to contradict it.
It is true they will meet a certain part of the payment while the house continues to be occupied. What my hon. Friends and I desire to know is what is to happen when the house ceases to be occupied. It is not always certain, even when the house ceases to be occupied and the site is cleared, that it will be developed for housing. It may be set aside for some other purpose. We would like to know what burden the local authority will have to bear, and whether it will be shared with the national Exchequer.
There has been some doubt also about what the contribution should be, varying between five guineas and £7 5s., and we are surely entitled to ask, in view of these changes, whether the Government intend to give this matter any further consideration. The Secretary of State, in opening the debate today, said that he had managed to push up the figure from £5 5s. to £7 5s., and the Joint Under-Secretary of State, in a response concerning feu duties, said the Government were giving some further consideration to some other proposal. I do not know what he meant, but these are very important matters indeed for the local authorities. I ask the Secretary of State not to be persuaded by the eloquence of the hon. Gentleman the Member for Edinburgh, South (Sir W. Darling), who, I am sorry to see, has left. Despite the fact that he paraded his record in local government, he sought to prove to the Committee that we on this side were quite wrong with regard to feu duties. Having all this history of local 1128 service behind him, the hon. Gentleman gave that as his opinion, and the Joint Under-Secretary had to tell him that he was quite wrong.
The real point at issue, however, is what is to happen to these sites and the burden which the local authority will have to bear. If the house ceases to be occupied, who will carry that burden? Is it to be the responsibility of the local authority or is it to be shared by the national Exchequer? At this late stage of the proceedings, having regard to the importance of this matter, we are entitled to have from the Government a clear exposition of the meaning of the Financial Resolution and the Bill.
§ 9.26 p.m.
Mr. Hector McNeil (Greenock)
I would have been happy had I felt it unnecessary to intervene at this stage, but my hon. and right hon. Friends have raised precise points which trouble not only this Committee but the local authorities upon whom the Minister and his right hon. and gallant Friend must completely depend for any action under the Bill to which this Financial Resolution relates.
On the Second Reading of the Bill, the Minister felt a little annoyed with me when I suggested that he had been hurried and that he would have done better to have had adequate consultation with the local authorities. I do not want to push the point, but it is clear that the Minister has had further consultations and it is plain from the proceedings in this Committee that he must have more. Indeed, I would not be surprised to be confronted with the ludicrous situation that an unprepared Front Bench is to have a third attempt at introducing a Financial Resolution, because this is the second attempt.
Let me put some points which I suggest respectfully are not yet clear. The intention of the Government is plain in the Financial Resolution relating to the contribution of half the annual loan charges, but there is a qualification, and that qualification is while any part of the house—I stress"the"house—is occupied. That is simple enough if one considers a row of uninhabitable houses: one house is vacated and the obligation of the Exchequer drops for the second. However, that would scarcely be a typical picture in Glasgow or in my burgh. There a typical picture would be a tenement property with 24 houses, six in each of 1129 four landings, and the local authority will, as they normally do, cause the vacation of these dwellings one by one.
Now we might get to the stage where there was only one tenant left in the entire building, but there are other charges which the local authority must shoulder as long as they are unable to demolish the whole tenement. I am certain that the Minister who is to reply, and who is familiar with this type of situation, would not want, in the spirit of the Financial Resolution, to have a local authority set at such a disadvantage, but it is at least ambiguous in the Financial Resolution and no remarks have been addressed to the subject by the Government Front Bench.
I now put a narrow point in relation to the subsidy. The Minister made the point that, no matter what happens to the temporarily improved dwelling, the annual payment of £7 5s. will continue for 15 years. Yet the right hon. Gentleman was good enough to make it plain to us that in his calculation of the deficit, and therefore in his calculation of the subsidy, he was making an allowance not only for a rent but for a higher rent.
The local authority would plainly be failing in its duty and would plainly be failing to respond to the exhortations of the Minister of Housing and Local Government if it did not push on at full speed with the tackling of this housing problem. But let us consider the matter. The improvement is made, the subsidy is agreed to and at the end of 10 years, let us hope, the poor unfortunate tenant is rehoused and the Government say in their generosity that the £7 5s. continues. But the local authority has lost a rent and has lost the owner's rate, and therefore is very heavily penalised by doing the very job which the Government tell us they are asking the local authorities to place uppermost.
In other words, unless the Government are prepared to think again and to say that the local authority shall be compensated when that happens, then plainly they are being less than candid, because they are pushing the local authority into a position where it could not consider vacating these homes and rehousing these tenants until 15 years had run out. I hope that I have made myself plain to the Minister. The £7 5s. will continue for 1130 15 years provided the Secretary of State has not varied it. We shall discuss that too.
But the local authority pushes along with its programme for rehousing and it takes out the tenant, for the purpose of argument, after 10 years, and does not have another tenant for that deferred demolition. For five years, therefore, it loses the rent and the owner's rating contribution towards the extinction of the debt which the Government have said it has contracted for that work. Obviously, that would be a very unfair position.
There is a point that occurs also in relation to the discussion about feu duties which happily you were spared, Sir Rhys. As you know, I am not a Welshman and I know that my English hon. and right hon. Friends are quite unfamiliar with this conception of feu duties. We who are in touch with local authorities have recently come up against another prolem—the problem of accumulated feu duties. A building falls into disrepair, becomes a slum, and the owner makes himself scarce. He no longer wants to have anything to do with that building. He abandons it, but I think that the ingenuity of my hon. and right hon. Friends who are learned in the law does not amount to saying that where a building is abandoned the same applies to the feu. The feu accumulates. Here is a local authority which is asked by the Minister to acquire and demolish a building, but the Minister does not seem to have made provision for the feu.
What will be the position if the local authority finds that it has accumulated feu duties running to 10, 15 or 20 times the annual charges? The right hon. and gallant Gentleman the Joint Under-Secretary of State for Scotland knows from experience in Glasgow that that is a reality. I ask my hon. Friends whether, when the local authority is being encouraged to attack the worst slums, the Government are not saying, "Not the worst slums but slums as long as they do not cost this additional money. "Are slums in Glasgow to be left alone?
I am sorry if I turned towards my hon. Friends. I was naturally referring the matter to my hon. 1131 Friends because experience of this type of subject is normally found on this side of the Committee, although I make an exception in the case of the right hon. and gallant Gentleman the Joint Under-Secretary, who has a life-long familiarity with this problem. I hope the right hon. Gentleman will use his knowledge of the situation to tell us frankly what the Government propose to do inside this Financial Resolution to meet that problem, which is a very real one.
Other complications arise from feu duties with which I am not familiar. When a local authority takes over a site with accumulated feu duties, what happens to the subsequent feu duties? Is the local authority automatically relieved from any subsequent payment? If there are subsequent demands, do the Government intend that they should continue until the site value develops? That is a tricky point which should fall inside the Resolution, but it is not provided for. I hope that the right hon. Gentleman will at any rate give a hint of his intention. I sympathise with him in that he has to confer with his right hon. and learned Friend, and I confess that I would be in exactly the same situation if I were Secretary of State.
The most important question which has emerged from these proceedings is that we must plead with the Government to tell us how this calculation of the deficit is arrived at. My hon. Friend the Member for Dunbartonshire, West (Mr. Steele) made a very persuasive attempt and my hon. Friend the Member for Glasgow, Central (Mr. McInnes) made another very valiant attempt but neither this Committee, nor the local authority, nor the tenants should be left in any ignorance as to how this calculation is made. In pointing to one curious feature which must be inherent in the calculation, my hon. Friend the Member for Glasgow, Central argued, rather persuasively at first sight, that there will be a rating change. He was attracted by paragraph (b) which refers to rents fixed under the 1950 Act. I think that probably he is wrong, but at any rate he served the Committee in drawing attention to that ambiguity. I believe that the previous paragraph will exempt the local authorities from paying a higher rate, but this is very important 1132 and we are indebted to my hon. Friend. Perhaps the right hon. Gentleman will make the point clear.
Even if the rates are frozen, it seems to us on this side of the Committee that the right hon. Gentlemen, in calculating the deficit, are clearly calculating that the dweller is to be asked to remain for a further 15 years in a house and to be penalised. Let us admit that the problem cannot be tackled overnight. He is to be penalised because of the unwillingness of the Government to face the full financial burden. For the privileges of remaining in a temporarily repaired house, he is to be asked to pay 30 per cent. or 40 per cent. increased rent. It is aludicrous situation. I hope that the right hon. Gentleman will explain to his right hon. Friends who are to support him in the Lobby tonight exactly what percentage of a higher rent he anticipates local authorities should levy on these poor, unfortunate people so that the Government can gallop away from their responsibilities.
My right hon. Friend the Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. Bevan) and several informed and experienced hon. Members on this side of the Committee have made the admission—as I would be anxious to make the admission—that of course there can be no certainty about the calculation. There are some things which are fairly obvious. It is fairly obvious, as transpired in a previous debate, that if the basis of the calculation rests on the Birmingham experience, it has no relevance to what Scottish local authorities may anticipate in their problems. The problem is utterly different. In Birmingham a dwelling which is 80, 90 or 100 years old is being dealt with. That is not the situation in Scotland. There, huge dismal towering tenements, built on sand-stone at the best and on sand and rubble at the worst, and which are nearly 150 years old, will be dealt with and the cost will be much higher.
The right hon. Gentleman should show us what connecting factor was inherent in his calculations to take account of the probable increased repairs bill which a Scottish local authority may anticipate in tackling a problem similar to that of their English colleagues. The basis of that difference is that there will be doubt and that there are no firm figures of the probable cost.
1133 There is no doubt in our minds and in the minds of the local authorities that the three-to-one ratio should not have been abandoned here. By what kind of topsy-turvy reasoning do the Government arrive at this decision? A local authority with a new dwelling has an additional rating subject, with owner's and occupier's rates accruing to the authority for more than 50, 60, 70 or 80 years. The Government, with logic that must startle themselves, say to the local authority, "Here is a poor miserable falling-down dwelling. Make the best you can of it for 15 years, with your rates frozen and with an annual deficit towards meeting which we will make some problematical contribution," and the basis of the contribution is fifty-fifty.
If the local authority has something valuable to itself and to its citizens, the Government say that the proportion is to be three to one; but if the local authority has something of which it must be ashamed, which is a misery inflicted upon one of its citizens, which is of no increased rateable value and is falling down before their eyes, the Government, in their wisdom, justice and generosity, say, "We will not make a three-to-one contribution."
There is a precedent. When we on this side of the Committee carried our 1949 Measure, we adhered to the basis of local authority expenditure in relation to repairs, and I suggest that the Government will continue to be under pressure from every local authority unless they do the honourable thing here. Moreover, if they really want this scheme to work, they will have to change the ratio. The Minister of Housing and Local Government said that he was afraid of making this proposal dangerously attractive. He can certainly save himself that worry. What is true is that he has made it unattractively dangerous for any local authority to act at all under the conditions provided in the Financial Resolution.
My right hon. and hon. Friends could find an abundance of reasons for voting against this Resolution. There is one reason on which we will stand. We could not find any form acceptable to the Chair—we make no complaint about that—by which we could have changed this Resolution to meet the wishes of responsible local authorities with whom 1134 the right hon. Gentleman has been in consultation. Because it is unjust, because it will prove in many cases unworkable, because it is just a propaganda front—that is what it is—for which the Government are not even willing to pay a just price, I and my hon. and right hon. Friends will have no alternative, unless the right hon. Gentleman removes all our fears, to dividing against the Resolution.
§ 9.45 p.m.
The Joint Under-Secretary of State for Scotland (Commander T. D. Galbraith)
We have listened to a lot of criticism during this debate and I am rather sorry that so much of it was purely destructive criticism and so little constructive. In fact, there has not been one constructive suggestion put forward from the benches opposite during the whole of the debate—
§ Mr. Woodburn
I think the right hon. and gallant Gentleman would agree that the proper definition of the word "construction" is "building." Unfortunately, we are not allowed to build up the subsidy. Unless the Queen's consent is given, an Amendment cannot be moved to build up the subsidy.
The only suggestion which has run through the great majority of the speeches from hon. Gentlemen opposite is that the Government should hand out a great deal more money than they are doing. I wondered, as I looked at the right hon. Member for Greenock (Mr. McNeil), whether, if he was in the same position which he occupied a few years ago, he would be piping that particular tune. I doubt it very much indeed.
Judging from many of the speeches there is no doubt that there is a desire on the part of all hon. Members to understand how these calculations are arrived at. I was under the impression that I had endeavoured to explain it during my Second Reading speech. Perhaps I am wrong. In any case, the situation is that it is exactly similar to the manner in which the subsidy calculation is made in respect of new houses.
We have assumed that the average capital cost would be £170. I think that is a reasonable figure. It may be a little 1135 higher in some areas and considerably lower in others. The loan charge on that figure is 3½ per cent. over 15 years. The figures were given more or less correctly by the hon. Member for Glasgow, Central (Mr. McInnes), but it would be as well if I confirmed that as £14 13s. 3d. We have allowed for maintenance and management on exactly the same scale as in the subsidy calculation for new houses, £8 for repairs and £3 for management making £11 in all.
We have calculated, with rents at present running at £13 10s., on average owners' rates at 7s. 5d. That is the Scottish average and we thus get for owners' rates the sum of £5 0s. 1d. This gives a total outlay of £30 13s. 4d. We deduct the average new rent which, with 50 per cent. of the houses at £18 18s. and 50 per cent. at £13 10s., strikes an average of £16 4s. Therefore, we have an annual deficit of £14 9s. 4d. So we take the round figure of £14 10s. The Committee knows it is equally divided between the local authority and the Exchequer. I should like to say here, because I have been asked to explain what happened when I met the local authority associations in thismatter—
We are grateful to the right hon. and gallant Gentleman, but before he leaves the figures would he explain what his calculation of the new rent means in terms of increase?
It is very slight indeed. The right hon. Gentleman knows as well as I do the average rents for this type of house which exist in the City of Glasgow and in his own constituency, and I would submit an average of £16 4s. is fair. That is the average rent. The increase must be something not very large. Obviously, with many of these houses, which are in very poor condition, no local authority could increase the rent to any extent. However, there will be many houses which the local authority may think fit to put into a fit condition. There will be houses where the owner is incapable financially of doing the necessary repairs. Such houses will, through one operation or another, fall to the local authority, and such houses may be made fully fit. Not only that, they may be actually improved. In cases like that, which I understand are likely to be numerous. 1136 surely the local authority might think fit to charge a greater rent for a fully fit house than it would consider proper for a house which was not fully fit.
What I was about to say before I was led away by the interruption was that when I met the local authority associations they suggested that the figure that we should take for the annual deficiency should be £15. I asked on what that was based, and no figures were forthcoming. I suggested that perhaps it was more reasonable to accept £14 10s. on which we had figures which had been placed before their officials.
§ Mr. McInnes
And no increase in rates either payable by the owner, which, in this case, would be the local authority, or the tenant who occupied the house?
§ Mr. McInnes
When the local authority knows the effect of the calculations, and increases the rent, that will not be taken into account as a charge in respect of rates?
No. I understand that the increase will not mean an extra charge in respect of owners' or occupiers' rates.
That figure of £15 was the only suggestion the local authority associations had to offer to me on that count.
I have been asked a number of questions. There were questions by the hon. Member for Kilmarnock (Mr. Ross), the hon. Member for Leith (Mr. Hoy) and also the right hon. Gentleman the Member for East Stirlingshire (Mr. Woodburn). I have so many notes that I find difficulty in answering all the questions, and I am afraid I cannot find the notes on the point to which I intended to refer. I will try to refer to it later.
Meantime, I will take up some of the points raised by the right hon. Member for East Stirlingshire. He felt that it was a wrong application of public money which was suggested in the Money Resolution. He said that it ought to be applied to the best purpose. I cannot think of a better purpose to which to put public money than that of making living conditions more tolerable than they are today for the worst housed of our population. 1137 Indeed, the right hon. Gentleman said that conditions must be made more tolerable but that we should give no inducement to perpetuate the slums.
My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State stressed in his speech that there was no intention that there should be a perpetuation of the slums and that this patching operation was only for such a period as it was necessary for the houses to be occupied.
§ Mr. Woodburn
Before the right hon. and gallant Gentleman leaves the points which I raised, there was one important point which ought to be answered. It relates to the conditions which will justify the Secretary of State's withholding of the grant where local authorities have worked on houses and carried out part of the scheme. Under the Bill the Secretary of State is entitled to withhold the whole or part of the grant. That seems very drastic, and local authorities must be alarmed that that will be possible.
I will deal with the point straight away. We must look at the matter in two ways. First, my right hon. Friend can, in terms of the Financial Resolution, vary the subsidy. He would only do that after we had gained experience.
But a local authority might take over, say, 500 houses and make the merest attempt at patching them up, perhaps doing a little more extensive patching of a few, and that would not be acting in the spirit of the Bill. Surely the Minister must have powers to take action in such a case. These are the powers which the Minister is given in Clause 4 (3). They are quite different from his powers of bringing forward a regulation, subject to an Affirmative Resolution, to alter the general subsidy. I hope the point is now clear.
§ Mr. Woodburn
Not quite. There is a further point which is closely related to that one. Having regard to all the variations and the flexibility which have been introduced, can the right hon. and gallant Gentleman tell us where there are any conditions by means of which local authorities can calculate that they will get a grant? There is, for instance, no provision to say that the grant will be payable in all normal circumstances except where the Secretary of State has good reason to withdraw it. Is the grant 1138 to be payable in every circumstance except where there are good and sufficient reasons for the Secretary of State to impose penal measures?
I should have thought that it was absolutely clear from the terms of the Bill and the Money Resolution that it is only in the very peculiar circumstances which I have endeavoured to indicate that the Secretary of State would take action.
§ Mr. Manuel
In relation to the provision which permits the Secretary of State to increase the contributions if a local authority is over-spending by a considerable sum the £7 5s. contribution from the rates, would the Secretary of State rule against an increased contribution under the Regulation because the local authority was not increasing the rents of the unfit houses once they had been made wind and waterproof?
The hon. Gentleman has not got the situation clear. My right hon. Friend would not consider increasing the subsidy unless there was ample evidence to show that the expenditure required was greater than the £170 on which the calculation of subsidy is based at present. It would only be in those circumstances that my right hon. Friend would deal with the matter.
The hon. Member for Dunbartonshire, West (Mr. Steele) endeavoured to work out a lot of abstruse calculations. The trouble that he got into was caused by his mixing up the two subsidies, the subsidy payable on acquisition and the subsidy in relation to the amount of repair work done. I hope the explanation that I have given of the way the subsidy for repair work is calculated will have made the matter clear to him.
The hon. Gentleman also asked me what would be the reply when the architect went along to a local authority and asked what the standard was to be. Of course, that will depend on the length of time which the local authority thinks it will be necessary to retain any of these controlled houses before they can be demolished. They will haw to treat certain houses or certain sections of houses in different ways and in different periods.
The hon. Member for Dunbartonshire, East (Mr. Bence) spoke with some feeling 1139 on the position of Clydebank. He went back to 1917 in order to get the evidence of the sanitary inspector of that time, but, fortunately or unfortunately—fortunately from one point of view, but most definitely unfortunately from another—Clydebank suffered very severely during the war when 4,000 of these houses were destroyed. In fact, the financial liability of Clydebank at present is to a large extent the result of the destruction of those 4,000 houses, and the Government have done their best, by the provisions which they have made, to make good to Clydebank the loss which it suffered.
I have already spoken of the redemption of feu duty, which does affect this Financial Resolution, though not to any great extent, and I have referred to the question of demolition and have said that these matters are under consideration at this moment and that we hope to introduce something at a later date.
There is one more point of substance with which I should like to deal. It was raised by the hon. Members for Kilmarnock and Leith, and it concerns the loan charges on the cost of the purchase. The right hon. Gentleman also referred to the fact that, on Second Reading, my right hon. Friend by a pure slip of the tongue, had spoken of half the cost of acquisition, but, of course, he did not mean anything of the kind, and I remember myself that he corrected himself quickly. He was talking about half the loan charges arising out of the cost of acquisition. The Exchequer will pay 50 per cent. of the annual loan charges so long as the house is used for housing purposes under the Bill. When that use ceases, the local authority can get such grants as may be appropriate under other statutory provisions when the site is put to some other use.
Let me give some examples. If it is to be used for new housing development, the housing subsidy takes account of the loan charges payable for the residue of the 60 years that remain. If, on the other hand, it is appropriated for town and country planning purposes, the local authority will get a grant of 50 per cent. of the outstanding loan charges under the Town and Country Planning Act.
If the right hon. and gallant Gentleman will contemplate the situation, he will see that, obviously, the local authority would not qualify under either of those Acts, because while 39 houses may be unoccupied, if one tenant is still there, what then? What is the Government's attitude to that situation?
Fortunately, the local authority will try to arrange that such a desperate situation as that does not arise. If they are going ahead with demolition and re-development, they will obviously endeavour to clear the whole of one property, and that is my answer to the right hon. Gentleman.
The right hon. and gallant Gentleman knows from his experience that local authorities must rehouse these people, not at their whim or to suit a tidy administrative plan, but from a sense of justice. For example, in connection with work on an appointed scheme, that is most unlikely to happen.
The right hon. Gentleman must realise that when we come to redevelop after demolition, steps will have to be taken to rehouse a lot of people at one time. There is no getting away from that. No scheme could possibly be devised which would allow us to redevelop and rehouse, say an area in the Gorbals or some other parts of Glasgow, unless we were able to get a cleared site and move the population from that site.
I have dealt, I think fairly fully, with the points that have been raised during the debate.
The right hon. Gentleman wants me to say something about feu duties, but I think I have already informed the Committee of that situation. My right hon. Friend hopes to deal with it in the near future.
§ Mr. McNeil rose—
I do not want to be tempted to attack the right hon. Gentleman, but I would say, as one friend to another, that he had some years in office in which to deal with this very difficult problem and did not do so. My right hon. Friend has not been in office much longer than the right hon. Gentle- 1141 man was, and has already taken steps to grapple with difficulties which have confronted and baffled local authorities for many years past, long before the right hon. Gentleman and I were members of the Glasgow Town Council.
Having endeavoured to answer the points that have been put, and in view
§ of the full speech of my right hon. Friend and the explanation he gave to the Committee, I hope that the Committee may now give us this Money Resolution.
§ Question put.
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 293; Noes, 250.1145
|Division No. 21.]||AYES||[10.10 p.m.|
|Aitken, W. T.||Doughty, C. J. A.||Jenkins, Robert (Dulwich)|
|Allan, R. A. (Paddington, S.)||Douglas-Hamilton, Lord Malcolm||Jennings, R.|
|Amery, Julian (Preston, N.)||Drayson, G. B.||Johnson, Eric (Blackley)|
|Amory, Rt. Hon. Heathcoat (Tiverton)||Dugdale, Rt. Hon. Sir T. (Richmond)||Jones, A. (Hall Green)|
|Anstruther-Gray, Major W. J.||Duncan, Capt. J. A. L.||Joynson-Hicks, Hon. L. W.|
|Ashton, H. (Chelmsford)||Duthie, W. S.||Kaberry, D.|
|Assheton, Rt. Hon. R. (Blackburn, W.)||Eccles, Rt. Hon. Sir D. M.||Kerr, H. W.|
|Astor, Hon. J. J.||Eden, Rt. Hon. A.||Lambert, Hon. G.|
|Baldock, Lt.-Cmdr, J. M.||Erroll, F. J.||Lambton, Viscount|
|Baldwin, A. E.||Fell, A.||Lancaster, Col. C. G.|
|Banks, Col. C.||Finlay, Graeme||Langford-Holt, J. A.|
|Barber, Anthony||Fisher, Nigel||Legge-Bourke, Maj. E. A. H.|
|Barlow, Sir John||Fleetwood-Hesketh, R. F.||Legh, Hon, Peter (Petersfield)|
|Baxter, A. B.||Fletcher-Cooke, C.||Lennox-Boyd, Rt. Hon. A. T.|
|Beach, Maj. Hicks||Ford, Mrs. Patricia||Lindsay, Martin|
|Beamish, Maj. Tufton||Fort, R.||Linstead, Sir H. N.|
|Bell, Philip (Bolton, E.)||Foster, John||Llewellyn, D. T.|
|Bull, Ronald (Bucks, S.)||Fraser, Hon. Hugh (Stone)||Lloyd, Rt. Hon. G. (King's Norton)|
|Bennett, F. M. (Reading, N.)||Fraser, Sir Ian (Morecambe & Lonsdale)||Lloyd, Maj. Sir Guy (Renfrew, E.)|
|Bennett, Dr. Reginald (Gosport)||Fyfe, Rt. Hon. Sir David Maxwell||Lloyd, Rt. Hon. Selwyn (Wirral)|
|Bennett, William (Woodside)||Galbraith, Rt. Hon. T. D. (Pollok)||Lockwood, Lt.-Col. J. C.|
|Bevins, J. R. (Toxteth)||Galbraith, T. G. D. (Hillhead)||Longden, Gilbert|
|Birch, Nigel||Gammans, L. D.||Low, A. R. W.|
|Bishop, F. P.||Garner-Evans, E. H.||Lucas, Sir Jocelyn (Portsmouth, S.)|
|Black, C. W.||George, Rt. Hon. Maj. G. Lloyd||Lucas, P. B. (Brentford)|
|Boothby, Sir R. J. G.||Glover, D.||Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh|
|Bossom, Sir A. C.||Godber, J. B.||McAdden, S. J.|
|Bowen, E. R.||Gomme-Duncan, Col. A.||McCallum, Major D.|
|Boyd-Carpenter, J. A.||Gough, C. F. H.||McCorquodale, Rt. Hon. M. S.|
|Boyle, Sir Edward||Gower, H. R.||Macdonald, Sir Peter|
|Braine, B. R.||Graham, Sir Fergus||Mackeson, Brig. H. R.|
|Braithwaite, Lt.-Cdr. G. (Bristol, N.W.)||Gridley, Sir Arnold||McKibbin, A. J.|
|Bromley-Davenport, Lt.-Col. W. H.||Grimston, Hon. John (St. Albans)||Mackie, J. H. (Galloway)|
|Brooke, Henry (Hampstead)||Grimston, Sir Robert (Westbury)||Maclay, Rt. Hon. John|
|Brooman-While, R. C.||Hall, John (Wycombe)||Maclean, Fitzroy|
|Browne, Jack (Govan)||Harden, J. R. E.||Macleod, Rt. Hon. Iain (Enfield, W.)|
|Buchan-Hepburn, Rt. Hon. P. G. T.||Hare, Hon. J. H.||MacLeod, John (Ross and Cromarty)|
|Bullard, D. G.||Harris, Frederic (Croydon, N.)||Macmillan, Rt. Hon. Harold (Bromley)|
|Bullus, Wing Commander, E. E.||Harris, Reader (Heston)||Macpherson, Niall (Dumfries)|
|Burden, F. F. A.||Harrison, Col. J. H. (Eye)||Maitland, Comdr. J. F. W. (Horncastle)|
|Butcher, Sir Herbert||Harvey, Ian (Harrow, E.)||Maitland, Patrick (Lanark)|
|Campbell, Sir David||Harvie-Watt, Sir George||Manningham-Buller, Sir R. E.|
|Carr, Robert||Hay, John||Marlowe, A. A. H.|
|Cary, Sir Robert||Head, Rt. Hon. A. H.||Marples, A. E.|
|Channon, H.||Heald, Sir Lionel||Marshall, Sir Sidney (Sutton)|
|Churchill, Rt. Hon. Sir Winston||Heath, Edward||Maude, Angus|
|Clarke, Col. Ralph (East Grinstead)||Henderson, John (Cathcart)||Maudling, R.|
|Clarke, Brig. Terence (Portsmouth, W.)||Higgs, J. M. C.||Medlicott, Brig. F.|
|Clyde, Rt. Hon. J. L.||Hill, Dr. Charles (Luton)||Mellor, Sir John|
|Cole, Norman||Hill, Mrs. E. (Wythenshawe)||Molson, A. H. E.|
|Colegate, W. A.||Hinchingbrooke, Viscount||Monckton, Rt. Hon. Sir Walter|
|Conant, Maj. R. J. E.||Hirst, Geoffrey||Moore, Sir Thomas|
|Cooper, Sqn. Ldr. Albert||Holland-Martin, C. J.||Morrison, John (Salisbury)|
|Cooper-Key, E. M.||Holt, A. F.||Mott-Radclyffe, C. E.|
|Craddock, Beresford (Spelthorne)||Hope, Lord John||Nabarro, G. D. N.|
|Crookshank, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. F. G.||Hopkinson, Rt. Hon. Henry||Neave, Airey|
|Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col. O. E.||Hornsby-Smith, Miss M. P.||Nicholls, Harmar|
|Crouch, R. F.||Horobin, I. M.||Nicholson, Godfrey (Farnham)|
|Crowder, Sir John (Finchley)||Horsbrugh, Rt. Hon. Florence||Nicolson, Nigel (Bournemouth, E.)|
|Crowder, Petre (Ruislip—Northwood)||Howard, Gerald (Cambridgeshire)||Nield, Basil (Chester)|
|Cuthbert, W. N.||Howard, Hon. Greville (St. Ives)||Noble, Cmdr. A. H. P.|
|Darling, Sir William (Edinburgh, S.)||Hudson, Sir Austin (Lewisham, N.)||Nugent, G. R. H.|
|Davidson, Viscountess||Hudson, W. R. A. (Hull, N.)||Nutting, Anthony|
|Davies, Rt. Hn. Clement (Montgomery)||Hulbert, Wing Cdr. N. J.||Oakshott, H. D.|
|De la Bere, Sir Rupert||Hurd, A. R.||Odey, G. W.|
|Deedes, W. F.||Hutchison, Lt.-Com. Clark (E'b'rgh, W.)||O'Neill, Hon. Phelim (Co. Antrim, N.)|
|Digby, S. Wingfield||Hutchison, James (Scotstoun)||Ormsby-Gore, Hon. W. D.|
|Dodds-Parker, A. D.||Hyde, Lt.-Col. H. M.||Orr, Capt. L. P. S.|
|Donaldson, Cmdr C. E. McA.||Hylton-Foster, H. B. H.||Orr-Ewing, Charles Ian (Hendon, N.)|
|Donner, Sir P. W.|
|Orr-Ewing, Sir Ian (Weston-super-Mare)||Scott-Miller, Cmdr. R.||Thornton-Kemsley, Col. C. N.|
|Osborne, C.||Shepherd, William||Touche, Sir Gordon|
|Page, R. G.||Simon, J. E. S. (Middlesbrough, W.)||Turner, H. F. L.|
|Peake, Rt. Hon. O.||Smithers, Sir Waldron (Orpington)||Turton, R. H.|
|Perkins, W. R. D.||Smyth, Brig. J. G. (Norwood)||Tweedsmuir, Lady|
|Peto, Brig. C. H. M.||Snadden, W. McN.||Vane, W. M. F.|
|Peyton, J. W. W.||Soames, Capt. C.||Vaughan-Morgan, J. K.|
|Pickthorn, K. W. M.||Spearman, A. C. M.||Vosper, D. F.|
|Pilkington, Capt. R. A.||Speir, R. M.||Wakefield, Sir Wavell (St. Marylebone)|
|Pill, Miss E. M.||Spence, H. R. (Aberdeenshire, W.)||Walker-Smith, D. C.|
|Powell, J. Enoch||Spens, Rt. Hon. Sir P. (Kensington, S.)||Ward, Hon. George (Worcester)|
|Price, Henry (Lewisham, W.)||Stanley, Capt. Hon. Richard||Ward, Miss I. (Tynemouth)|
|Prior-Palmer, Brig. O. L.||Stevens, G. P.||Waterhouse, Capt. Rt. Hon. C.|
|Profumo, J. D.||Steward, W. A. (Woolwich, W.)||Watkinson, H. A.|
|Raikes, Sir Victor||Stewart, Henderson (Fife, E.)||Webbe, Sir H. (London & Westminster)|
|Rayner, Brig. R.||Stoddart-Scott, Col. M.||Wellwood, W.|
|Redmayne, M.||Storey, S.||Williams, Rt. Hon. Charles (Torquay)|
|Rees-Davies, W. R.||Strauss, Henry (Norwich, S.)||Williams, Gerald (Tonbridge)|
|Remnant, Hon. P.||Stuart, Rt. Hon. James (Moray)||Williams, Sir Herbert (Croydon, E.)|
|Renton, D. L. M.||Summers, G. S.||Williams, Paul (Sunderland, S.)|
|Roberts, Peter (Heeley)||Sutcliffe, Sir Harold||Williams, R. Dudley (Exeter)|
|Robertson, Sir David||Taylor, Charles (Eastbourne)||Wills, G.|
|Robson-Brown, W.||Taylor, William (Bradford, N.)||Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)|
|Rodgers, John (Sevenoaks)||Teeling, W.||Wood, Hon. R.|
|Ropner, Col. Sir Leonard||Thomas, Rt. Hon. J. P. L. (Hereford)||York, C.|
|Russell, R. S.||Thomas, Leslie (Canterbury)|
|Ryder, Capt. R. E. D.||Thomas, P. J. M. (Conway)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES|
|Sandys, Rt. Hon. D.||Thompson, Kenneth (Walton)||Sir Cedric Drewe and Mr. Studholme.|
|Schofield, Lt.-Col. W.||Thompson, Lt.-Cdr. R. (Croydon, W.)|
|Scott, R. Donald||Thorneycroft, Rt. Hn. Peter (Monmouth)|
|Albu, A. H.||Davies, Stephen (Merthyr)||Holmes, Horace (Hemsworth)|
|Allen, Arthur (Bosworth)||de Freitas, Geoffrey||Houghton, Douglas|
|Allen, Scholefield (Crewe)||Deer, G.||Hoy, J. H.|
|Anderson, Alexander (Motherwell)||Delargy, H. J.||Hudson, James (Ealing, N.)|
|Anderson, Frank (Whitehaven)||Dodds, N. N.||Hughes, Cledwyn (Anglesey)|
|Attlee, Rt. Hon. C. R.||Donnelly, D. L.||Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayrshire)|
|Awbery, S. S.||Dugdale, Rt. Hon. John (W. Bromwich)||Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.)|
|Bacon, Miss Alice||Ede, Rt. Hon. J. C.||Hynd, H. (Accrington)|
|Balfour, A.||Edelman, M.||Hynd, J. B. (Attercliffe)|
|Barnes, Rt. Hon. A. J.||Edwards, Rt. Hon. John (Brighouse)||Irving, W. J. (Wood Green)|
|Bartley, P.||Edwards, Rt. Hon. Ness (Caerphilly)||Isaacs, Rt. Hon. G. A.|
|Bellenger, Rt. Hon. F. J.||Edwards, W. J. (Stepney)||Janner, B.|
|Bence, C. R.||Evans, Albert (Islington, S.W.)||Jay, Rt. Hon. D. P. T.|
|Benn, Hon. Wedgwood||Evans, Edward (Lowestoft)||Jeger, George (Goole)|
|Benson, G.||Fernyhough, E.||Jenkins, R. H. (Stechford)|
|Beswick, F.||Fienburgh, W.||Jones, David (Hartlepool)|
|Bevan, Rt. Hon. A. (Ebbw Vale)||Finch, H. J.||Jones, Frederick Elwyn (West Ham, S.)|
|Bing, G. H. C.||Fletcher, Eric (Islington, E.)||Jones, Jack (Rotherham)|
|Blackburn, F.||Follick, M.||Jones, T. W. (Merioneth)|
|Blenkinsop, A.||Foot, M. M.||Keenan, W.|
|Blyton, W. R.||Forman, J. C.||Key, Rt. Hon. C. W.|
|Boardman, H.||Fraser, Thomas (Hamilton)||King, Dr. H. M.|
|Bowden, H. W.||Freeman, John (Watford)||Lee, Frederick (Newton)|
|Braddock, Mrs. Elizabeth||Freeman, Peter (Newport)||Lee, Miss Jennie (Cannock)|
|Brockway, A. F.||Gaitskell, Rt. Hon. H. T. N.||Lever, Harold (Cheetham)|
|Brook, Dryden (Halifax)||Gibson, C. W.||Lever, Leslie (Ardwick)|
|Broughton, Dr. A. D. D.||Glanville, James||Lewis, Arthur|
|Brown, Rt. Hon. George (Belper)||Gooch, E. G.||Lindgren, G. S.|
|Brown, Thomas (Ince)||Greenwood, Anthony (Rossendale)||Lipton, Lt.-Col. M.|
|Burke, W. A.||Grenfell, Rt. Hon. D. R.||Logan, D. G.|
|Burton, Miss F. E.||Grey, C. F.||MacColl, J. E.|
|Butler, Herbert (Hackney, S.)||Griffiths, David (Rother Valley)||McGhee, H. G.|
|Callaghan, L. J.||Griffiths, Rt. Hon. James (Llanelly)||McGovern, J.|
|Carmichael, J.||Griffiths, William (Exchange)||McInnes, J.|
|Castle, Mrs. B. A.||Hale, Leslie||McLeavy, F.|
|Champion, A. J.||Hall, Rt. Hon. Glenvil (Colne Valley)||MacMillan, M. K. (Western Isles)|
|Chetwynd, G. R.||Hall, John T. (Gateshead, W.)||McNeil, Rt. Hon. H.|
|Clunie, J.||Hamilton, W. W.||MacPherson, Malcolm (Stirling)|
|Coldrick, W.||Hannan, W.||Mainwaring, W. H.|
|Collick, P. H.||Hardy, E. A.||Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg)|
|Corbet, Mrs. Freda||Hargreaves, A.||Mallalieu, J. P. W. (Huddersfield, E.)|
|Cove, W. G.||Harrison, J. (Nottingham, E.)||Mann, Mrs. Jean|
|Craddock, George (Bradford, S.)||Hastings, S.||Manuel, A. C.|
|Crosland, C. A. R.||Hayman, F. H.||Markham, Major Sir Frank|
|Crossman, R. H. S.||Healey, Denis (Leeds, S.E.)||Mason, Roy|
|Cullen, Mrs. A.||Healy, Cahir (Fermanagh)||Mayhew, C. P.|
|Daines, P.||Henderson, Rt. Hon. A. (Rowley Regis)||Mellish, R. J.|
|Dalton, Rt. Hon. H.||Herbison, Miss M.||Messer, Sir F.|
|Darling, George (Hillsborough)||Hewitson, Capt. M.||Mitchison, G. R.|
|Davies, Ernest (Enfield, E.)||Hobson, C. R.||Monslow, W.|
|Davies, Harold (Leek)||Holman, P.||Moody, A. S.|
|Morgan, Dr. H. B. W.||Reid, William (Camlachie)||Thomas, Ivor Owen (Wrekin)|
|Morley, R.||Rhodes, H.||Thomson, George (Dundee, E.)|
|Morris, Percy (Swansea, W.)||Richards, R.||Thornton, E.|
|Mort, D. L.||Roberts, Albert (Normanton)||Tomney, F.|
|Moyle, A.||Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvon)||Turner-Samuels, M.|
|Mulley, F. W.||Robinson, Kenneth (St. Pancras, N.)||Ungoed-Thomas, Sir Lynn|
|Murray, J. D.||Rogers, George (Kensington, N.)||Viant, S. P.|
|Nally, W.||Ross, William||Wallace, H. W.|
|Neal, Harold (Bolsover)||Shackleton, E. A. A.||Warbey, W. N.|
|Noel-Baker, Rt. Hon. P. J.||Shinwell, Rt. Hon. E.||Webb, Rt. Hon. M. (Bradford, C.)|
|O'Brien, T.||Short, E. W.||Weitzman, D.|
|Oliver, G. H.||Silverman, Julius (Erdington)||Wells, William (Walsall)|
|Orbach, M.||Silverman, Sydney (Nelson)||West, D. G.|
|Oswald, T.||Simmons, C. J. (Brierley Hill)||Wheeldon, W. E.|
|Padley, W. E.||Skeffington, A. M.||White, Mrs. Eirene (E. Flint)|
|Paget, R. T.||Slater, Mrs. H. (Stoke-on-Trent)||White, Henry (Derbyshire, N.E.)|
|Paling, Will T. (Dewsbury)||Slater, J. (Durham, Sedgefield)||Whiteley, Rt. Hon. W.|
|Palmer, A. M. F.||Smith, Ellis (Stoke, S.)||Wigg, George|
|Pannell, Charles||Smith, Norman (Nottingham, S.)||Wilcock, Group Capt. C A. B.|
|Pargiter, G. A.||Snow, J. W.||Wilkins, W. A.|
|Parker, J.||Sorensen, R. W.||Willey, F. T.|
|Parkin, B. T||Soskice, Rt. Hon. Sir Frank||Williams, Rev. Llywelyn (Abertillery)|
|Paton, J.||Steele, T.||Williams, W. R. (Droylsden)|
|Pearson, A.||Stewart, Michael (Fulham, E.)||Williams, W. T. (Hammersmith, S.)|
|Peart, T. F.||Stokes, Rt. Hon. R. R.||Wilson, Rt. Hon. Harold (Huyton)|
|Plummer, Sir Leslie||Strachey, Rt. Hon. J.||Winterbottom, Richard (Brightside)|
|Porter, G.||Strauss, Rt. Hon. George (Vauxhall)||Woodburn, Rt. Hon. A.|
|Price, J. T. (Westhoughton)||Stross, Dr. Barnett||Wyatt, W. L.|
|Price, Philips (Gloucestershire, W.)||Summerskill, Rt. Hon. E.||Yates, V. F.|
|Proctor, W. T.||Swingler, S. T.|
|Pursey, Cmdr. H||Sylvester, G. O.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:|
|Rankin, John||Taylor, Bernard (Mansfield)||Mr. Popplewell and Mr. John Taylor.|
|Reeves, J.||Taylor, Rt. Hon. Robert (Morpeth)|
|Reid, Thomas (Swindon)||Thomas, Iorwerth (Rhondda, W.)|
Question put, and agreed to.
§ Resolution to be reported Tomorrow.