HC Deb 05 February 1957 vol 564 cc218-9
11. Mr. Bence

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what consideration he has given, since the new Administration took office, to demands by local authorities that interest rates be reduced and housing subsidies maintained.

12. Mr. Emrys Hughes

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what reply he proposes to make to the recent memorandum on housing subsidies issued by the Association of County Councils in Scotland, the Convention of Royal Burghs and the Corporations of Glasgow, Aberdeen and Dundee.

33. Mr. Willis

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what representations he has received from local authorities and local authority associations against the reduction in housing subsidies; and what replies he has made.

Mr. Nixon Browne

There will be a full opportunity in the proceedings on the Housing and Town Development (Scotland) Bill to discuss the views expressed by local authorities on the proposed new rates of housing subsidies and the rates of interest for housing loans.

Mr. Bence

Will the hon. Gentleman demand from the Treasury that we get immediate action to lower the interest rates for Scotland, because there is strong resentment among the local authorities in Scotland that the extra burdens put on them are to satisfy the theoretical claims of a high Bank Rate, which has no connection with the general economy of the country? Will he maintain subsidies as a factor taking account of whatever interest rates are fixed for the purpose of local authority finance?

Mr. Browne

I think the House will agree that these matters would be better left to be discussed later.

Mr. Hughes

Does not the hon. Gentleman realise that the Government's policy is making housing impossible in Scotland? Is he aware that Gourock, which is in the constituency of the Secretary of State for Scotland, has stopped building houses, and who will speak for them in the Scottish Standing Committee?

Mr. Browne

I cannot agree that the hon. Gentleman is correct when he says that Government policy is stopping house building in Scotland, as replies to later Questions will show.

Mr. Willis

In view of the fact that the Government decisions have aroused universal opposition among local authorities in Scotland, does not the hon. Gentleman think that the Government should drop the Bill altogether?

Mr. Browne

No, Sir.