HC Deb 06 March 1956 vol 549 cc1923-4
47. Mr. Carmichael

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland, since it appears from his annual returns for housing for 1953, 1954 and 1955 that local authorities had completed 35,992, 35,331 and 29,278 houses, respectively, what estimate he has made of the number of houses to be built by local authorities in Scotland in 1956.

Mr. J. Stuart

I regret that it is not not possible to forecast the rate of completions for 1956. This may continue to fall in small burghs and county areas where housing needs have been largely met; on the other hand, I should hope that good progress will be maintained in areas where the need is still great.

Mr. Carmichael

According to the figures, there has been a steady drop in house building during the last three years. The Government have issued a White Paper showing that there are 128,000 unfit houses in Scotland. What view do they take of approaching the local authorities to remedy that evil in Scotland? What is the Secretary of State doing, together with the Chancellor, to get the interest rate reduced for housing?

Mr. Stuart

The reason for the decline in the last year or two is the fact, which I have mentioned earlier, that certain areas are overtaking their problems. I trust that in the areas where the problem is still present the rate of housing will be maintained.

Mr. Hoy

Is the right hon. Gentleman not aware that a considerable number of local authorities have already intimated that the ever-increasing interest rates will make it impossible for them to undertake further housing schemes?

Mr. Stuart

I have already mentioned that we are to have discussions very shortly with local authorities about housing subsidies.