§ 31. Mr. Rankin
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what precedent he is following in asking Glasgow to share in the overall deficit and at the same time make a rate contribution in respect of the proposed new town at Cumbernauld.
The Housing (Scotland) Act, 1950, enables local authorities to contribute to such extent as they think desirable towards the expenditure of new town corporations in providing housing accommodation to meet the requirements of the local authorities. There is no exact precedent for the proposal that, under these provisions, the Corporation of Glasgow should contribute towards the deficit incurred by a new town corporation since there are no comparable circumstances to which such an arrangement might have been applied.
§ Mr. Rankin
As the right hon. and gallant Gentleman has intimated that there is no precedent for the action which the Government have taken, would he, as Minister responsible for housing in Scotland, get in touch with the corporation, and, as I suggested last Tuesday, drop altogether the question of dealing with the overall deficit, and concentrate on finding a solution to the problem of the rate contribution?
§ 33. Mr. Hannan
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland why he has referred Glasgow Corporation to the Manchester and Bristol projects as having financial provisions analogous to those proposed by him in respect of the new town at Cumbernauld.
The Manchester and Bristol projects were quoted by my right hon. Friend, not because they involve financial arrangements analogous to those proposed for Cumbernauld, but because, while Glasgow appears to disclaim any responsibility for its housing overspill, both these corporations were proposing to develop new communities in the areas of adjoining authorities at their own cost.
§ Mr. Hannan
Is not the Minister aware that the Bristol proposals were made under Section 4 of the Town Development Act, an Act which does not apply to Scotland at all? Is he further aware that the Manchester City Council intends its projects to be dormitory towns, an intention which Glasgow emphatically rejects?
I can correct the hon. Member in relation to Bristol. That Section applied to one scheme for 8,000 houses. In relation to the second scheme for 3,000 houses at Filton, in Gloucestershire, Bristol was to build entirely at its own cost, on the Manchester model.
§ Mr. Rankin
Is it not correct that Bristol's view is not the unanimous view of English boroughs, and that Birmingham, for example, is adopting exactly the same attitude as Glasgow?
§ 34. Mr. Hannan
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what discussions he has had with the Dunbartonshire County Council concerning his proposals on financial arrangements relative to the proposed new town at Cumbernauld; and with what result.
None, Sir. My right hon. Friend has informed the county council that he has no proposals to put before it until his negotiations with Glasgow Corporation, for whose housing requirements a development at Cumbernauld would be almost exclusively designed, have reached a definite stage.
§ Mr. Hannan
Does not that reply reveal a deplorable state of affairs? Since 1953, the right hon. and gallant Gentleman has indicated that the county council has been proceeding with Glasgow and with the Department on a tripartite 886 scheme to build a new town at Cumbernauld. We are now informed that one of the principal parties has not even been consulted in the matter. When does the Minister intend to make the proposals known to Dunbartonshire County Council?
The hon. Gentleman's feelings may be relieved, perhaps, if I tell him that the county council has been officially informed of the negotiations with Glasgow. It was, in fact, invited to the meeting which the Secretary of State had with the Glasgow representatives on 25th November but was unable to participate in that meeting.
§ 38. Mr. McInnes
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what has delayed the construction of the proposed new town at Cumbernauld; and what now prevents this project from being proceeded with on the same basis as Glenrothes and East Kilbride new towns.
As regards the first part of the Question, I would refer to my right hon. Friend's reply to the hon. Member for Tradeston (Mr. Ranking of 25th January. The answer to the second part is that the circumstances are not comparable.
§ Mr. McInnes
Is the Minister aware that his reply is not strictly in accordance with the facts? Is he not aware that at the public inquiry dealing with the setting up of East Kilbride, counsel for the Scottish Office indicated specifically that East Kilbride was being set up to take Glasgow's overspill population? Will he not proceed now with Cumbernauld on that basis?
§ 39. Mr. McInnes
asked the Secretary of State when a decision to proceed with the Cumbernauld new town is likely to be given; and how long it will take there after before building operations commence.
As regards the first part of the Question, I would refer to my right hon. Friend's reply to the hon. Member for Tradeston (Mr. Rankin) on 25th January. As regards the second part, it is estimated that it would be about 12 months from the date of any final 887 decision to approve the project before actual building operations could commence.
§ Mr. McInnes
Is the right hon. and gallant Gentleman aware that he has been handling this problem for over two years and has not yet come to a decision? Is he further aware that by the time a decision is reached, Glasgow will have absorbed all its building sites and there will be a complete cessation of house building in Glasgow, with disastrous results?
I deny that my right hon. Friend has been holding matters up. He has been pressing for the matter to be dealt with as much as he possibly can. He now awaits a reply to the suggestions made to the Corporation of Glasgow.
§ Mrs. Mann
Is the Minister aware that it is more than 10 years since Sir Patrick Abercrombie reported to the Government that Glasgow required four new towns? Is he further aware that, under the Labour Government, Glasgow got East Kilbride and is now awaiting three more new towns? Does not the Minister think that to treat Glasgow as it is being treated now is the most mean and contemptible thing in Scottish history?
The hon. Lady will remember that the Corporation of Glasgow, which was not composed of persons favourable to this Government, emphatically denied the necessity for any provision for an overspill from the City of Glasgow.
§ 41. Mr. Rankin
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland the contents of the letter he addressed to the Corporation of Glasgow on 25th November last, in regard to the new town at Cumbernauld.
My right hon. Friend did not write to the Corporation on 25th November, 1954. At a meeting that day with representatives of the Corporation he suggested that they should examine the arrangements being made by other cities for dealing with their overspill problems, and invited them to submit thereafter any counter-proposals that they might wish to put forward.
§ Mr. Rankin
Does the Minister recall that I suggested last Tuesday that the 888 Secretary of State should consult Glasgow Corporation on the question of the rate contribution and drop the question of Glasgow sharing in the overall deficit? Is he further aware that the Secretary of State indicated last Tuesday that he had made a proposal on those lines to the Corporation of Glasgow, but that the minutes show that no such proposal was made at all?
My right hon. Friend did make a proposal to the Glasgow Corporation, and he is now awaiting a reply from the Corporation.