HC Deb 03 June 1957 vol 571 cc914-47
Mr. Thomas Fraser (Hamilton)

I beg to move, in page 5. line 28, after "shall", to insert: in respect of each completed approved house. What we had in mind in putting down the Amendment—and I hope that its effect is what we intend it to be—is that the local authorities will be relieved of the obligation to make a contribution as set out in the earlier statutes referred to in subsection (1) of Clause 5 in respect only of houses which are to receive the new Exchequer subsidy; that is to say, completed approved houses, approved houses being, I understand, houses for which building approval was given or or after 1st August, 1956, and which are completed after the Bill becomes an Act.

The case for the Amendment is fairly clear. The Government have seen fit, very properly, to continue the existing Exchequer subsidies in respect of all houses built by local authorities up to now and they have reduced the Exchequer subsidy only in respect of houses to be completed in the future. As the Clause stands, local authorities are to be relieved of making a statutory rate contribution, not only in respect of houses to be completed in future, but in respect of all the houses they have ever completed at any time—that is, all the houses they at present own. We seek to limit this relief from the obligation to make a statutory rate contribution to the houses yet to be completed.

It would be a serious matter if the Amendment were not made and local authorities accepted the freedom that is being given to them and discontinued making a contribution from rates in respect of their existing pool of houses. There is reason to believe that some local authorities in Scotland have already anticipated this legislation. I have had a look at the rents scheme recently determined by Dumfries County Council. I understand that the Secretary of State is not responsible for a rent scheme made by a local authority and I am not asking him to concern himself with the rent scheme as such. I merely wish him to take into account that Dumfries County Council, in determining its rents scheme, appears to have anticipated the passage of this Clause in the Bill and would appear to have anticipated its release from an obligation to make a particular rate contribution in respect of the houses that it now owns.

4.0 p.m.

We find, in consequence, that their anticipating this Bill's becoming an Act of Parliament has led them to determine a level of rents which will prove to be quite intolerable in Dumfries-shire, but which will certainly save them the embarrassment of a long waiting list of applicants for houses, because the people of Dumfries-shire will not be able to afford the rents to be charged. If other local authorities were to do the same thing it would then appear that the Government had solved the housing problem overnight, for the waiting lists would disappear. If rents and rates for a local authority house in my constituency were to be fixed at £2 15s. a week the waiting list would dwindle. Anticipating this legislation, the local authority in Dumfries-shire is charging tenants £95 a year for temporary houses which it got from the Ministry of Works for a rental of £26 a year. That would seem to me to be quite intolerable.

I hope that the Secretary of State will, in these circumstances, accept the Amendment. We much regret the inclusion in the Bill of Clause 5 for the termination of the local authorities' obligation to make a contribution from rates, thus leaving them free to decide whether or not to make a contribution and, if they decide to do so, to decide what amount of contribution they will make. We think they should make a statutory contribution for houses to be built in the future as well as for houses built in the past, but, in any case, it would seem to us to be quite intolerable that the Government should terminate the local authorities' obligation to make a rate contribution for those houses which have been built and have been subsidised during the years by grants from the Exchequer and approved by this House on the understanding that the local authorities would themselves make contributions from the rates.

Local authorities even now are authorised to consider applications for assistance in the improving of existing houses. An owner-occupier may make an application to his local authority for a sum to improve his house. If the local authority approves the improvement scheme and a grant is paid it is obliged to pay from its rating account 25 per cent. of the cost of the grant; that is to say, it is obliged to make a contribution in accordance with the old ratio of three parts from the Exchequer and one part from local finances. It would be very wrong if we were to relieve the local authority of any obligation to make any contribution from rates for houses which it has built over the years and has let to its citizens, while we maintain the obligation upon the local authority to spend some of the ratepayers' money to improve the houses of people who—not always, but generally speaking—are much better off.

This is a reasonable Amendment and ought not to be resisted by the Government. The Government resisted this kind of Amendment in Committee, but now they have got the main proposal through, that is to say, the termination of the local authorities' obligation in respect of future houses, I hope they will concede to us that contributions from rates would remain in respect of those houses already existing.

Mr. William Hannan (Glasgow, Maryhill)

I beg to second the Amendment.

I do not propose to go over all the arguments again, but I would remind the Government that at present the local authority pays approximately one-third, and contributes, for houses of from one to three apartments, £13 5s.; for four-apartment houses, £14 5s.; and, for five-apartment houses, £15 10s. Under the Bill and with the reduced subsidy of £24, the local authority will be asked to pay £8, and proportionately.

Under Clause 5 as drafted the local authorities are to be relieved of any contribution whatsoever. The position is far too serious for that to be allowed to happen. In Glasgow, the position will he lamentable. Our case is that there is not a social responsibility only upon the Government to provide some help in the provision of houses, but also upon the community in Glasgow itself.

Considering all the circumstances and the seriousness of the situation, we cannot but come to the conclusion that the real purpose of the Government, first, by their proposal to reduce the subsidy, and then by their proposal to relieve the local authority of its responsibility for making some contribution, is to stop house building altogether. That is what the effect of the Bill will be. We have seen signs of this happening in Scotland. Only this morning we read in the Press of a local authority's having decided to stop building because of the frightful cost. My hon. Friend the Member for Hamilton (Mr. T. Fraser) has referred to the position prevailing in Dumfries-shire. All hon. Members from Scotland know what is happening.

The Government cannot escape their responsibility by saying that this is a matter for the local authorities alone. By means of this Bill some local authorities will evade their responsibility by pointing out that the Bill allows that. They will say, to coin a phrase anew, "The law allows it and, therefore, the court awards it." We appeal once more to the Government to reconsider this matter, and I hope that they will at least be prepared to say they will consider the Amendment.

Mr. Ross

I am disappointed that the Joint Under-Secretary of State has not risen to accept this Amendment. [HON. MEMBERS: "What?"] We have seen him before rise hurriedly with open arms to welcome an Amendment—when, admittedly, it did not cost the Government very much to do it. This Amendment would not cost the Government a penny. You, Mr. Speaker, will agree that if it would cost the Government a penny you would not have called the Amendment. This Amendment relates to the local authorities.

Hitherto, one of the conditions for getting a subsidy has been that the local authority also has had to pay a subsidy out of the rates for houses provided. There might have been some logic in the Government's doing what they are by this Bill, cutting the national subsidy for new houses, if they had given power to the local authorities to do the same thing in respect of houses still to be built, but what logic is there in giving the local authorities this power to terminate what has been a contract relating to every subsidy granted by every Government since 1919?

Our Amendment draws a dividing line between houses which have already been built in Scotland and those which are still to be built. Those still to be built would get the national subsidy from the Government; and the local authorities would be free to decide whether or lot to give subsidy. Acceptance of our Amendment would mean that the contracts made, and the existing statutory provisions, would still rule for those houses which have already been built. Let us realise that this cutting of the subsidy does not affect those houses for which subsidies are still being paid under previous Acts. The contract which the Government made with the local authority stands.

We say that the provision of that contract, that there should be a statutory subsidy from the local rates, should equally stand. We do not think it right that the Government should decide now to rescind the provisions in the Housing, Town Planning, etc. (Scotland) Act, 1919, in the Housing Act, 1923, in the Wheatley Act of 1924 and in all the Acts of Parliament which annually provide a subsidy on condition that the local authority equally provides a subsidy. Therefore, from the retrospective aspect, we think this legislation wrong.

The general effect of adopting the Clause unamended is to give power to raise rents and that it indicates that the Government want local authorities to raise rents throughout Scotland. It can have no other effect, if the local authorities take advantage of the Clause, the removal of the local subsidy will mean that the rents will have to be increased by that amount for every house built in Scotland since 1919 on which subsidy of some kind is still paid.

In Dumfries, the county authority is so ready to accept the advice of the Government that the rent and rates for "prefabs," those blots on the landscape, are £130 a year. Is it not shocking that a Government which call upon the workers for a wage freeze and whose Prime Minister lectures us every weekend and says, "Let us have some stability" should go out of their way to indicate to the local authorities that what they really want is a rise in rents?

Many of those concerned in Dumfries are miners. Far be it from hon. Members opposite to lecture miners who are now faced with having to pay £130 a year for "prefabs." Amy of those affected are agricultural workers. What crazy kind of policy is this that the Government should lecture us not to do anything that will affect price stability and should then go gratuitously out of their way to indicate to local authorities that they should raise rents all round? It is bad law and bad principle to undo what amounts to a condition of contract in granting subsidies, which has existed from 1919 to 1957. In justice to the tenants and to make sense of economic policy it would be far better to accept the Amendment.

We on this side of the House tried to wipe the whole thing out in Committee. We recognise that the Government are determined to go on with it, but if they must start a new policy it would be far better to start it with houses that are still to be built. If the Government retain all the obligations entered into under Acts of Parliament in respect of houses already built, then, equally, the local authorities should accept and continue to carry out their obligations in respect of those same houses.

I have no doubt that the Joint Under-Secretary of State for Scotland will tell me that it does not matter and that the local authorities can please themselves. Parliament decided in 1919, 1923, 1924, 1931, 1933, right up to 1952 and again up to last year that local authorities must make a contribution. Surely Parliament had in mind that it was only right that if the Government were providing their share the local authorities should also provide theirs. That principle still stands.

The hon. Gentleman may say that the local authorities will continue to pay the subsidies. Many of them will, but there are local authorities like Dumfries County Council which will be only too glad to say, "This is what the Government want us to do." Like loyal Tories, they will follow the Government, just as loyal hon. Members opposite will go into the Lobby at the behest of the Chief Whip.

Mr. Cyril Bence (Dunbartonshire, East)

They are not so loyal now in the country.

Mr. Ross

They are just as loyal, but there are not so many of them.

I hope that the Government will learn sense not from Hornsey but from Edinburgh, South and that they will reject this idea of encouraging local authorities to raise rents in this way. Parliament laid this duty upon the local authorities and meant it. The Government should confine this provision to houses which are still to be built and should leave the position of those built under contractual arrangements between the local authority and the Government as it is at the moment. I sincerely hope that the Joint Under-Secretary will accept the Amendment.

4.15 p.m.

Mr. J. N. Browne

The hon. Members for Hamilton (Mr. T. Fraser) and Kilmarnock (Mr. W. Ross) have sought to relate the fact that the Government have honoured their contract in respect of old houses to the need for retaining the statutory rate contribuion in its present form, but there is no parallel. In the one case the Government agreed to make a payment towards the local authority account, whereas the local authority contribution was of two sorts. One was a statutory rate contribution and the other, if necessary, a contribution from the general rate fund which had to square the housing account of the local authority. Both hon. Members mentioned Dumfries County Council. I appreciate, as they do, that this is not the responsibility of the Secretary of State for Scotland.

Mr. Ross

It is the consequence of the action of the Secretary of State for Scotland.

Mr. Browne

According to the information in our possession, the Dumfries County Council proposes to make a rate contribution which is likely to be more than the notional statutory rate contribution, that is, more than the amount fixed by the present law. The hon. Member for Hamilton appears to dissent, but I have had the opportunity of checking that information again. It is not, of course, my right hon. Friend's responsibility and the information may be incorrect.

I have studied the Amendment with great sympathy. The main issue that faced us in Committee was the question whether or not there should be a statutory rate contribution. Hon. Members have done their best, but I cannot see the merit of the Amendment. The average Exchequer contribution in Scotland is £20.13 per house, and the average rate contribution is not just over £6, as it ought to be, but £21.58 which is higher than the average Exchequer contribution. Therefore, it is surely up to any Government to face the fact that local authorities, in fixing rents, long ago threw overboard the classical conception of the kind of payment to be made from the rates to the housing account. Each local authority has made its own decision about the correct division to be made of the burden to be borne in the housing account between rents and rates.

Mr. Woodburn

When this matter was discussed before, I put a question to the hon. Gentleman. I did not blame him for not being able to answer then, hut I think that the matter would be clearer if he could tell us within this average which, if any, local authorities do not pay the minimum, or just pay it. The average might indicate to us that every local authority pays more than the minimum, so it would be interesting to hear to what local authorities the Amendment would apply.

Mr. Browne

During the Committee stage, I answered ten thousand and one questions satisfactorily, but I remembered that we did not know the answer to that question. However, I read the HANSARD concerned and I thought the right hon. Gentleman might ask the question now, and I have the information for him. The following local authorities seem to be limiting their rate contribution to the statutory rate contribution. There is one large burgh, Perth. There are the following small burghs, Cove, Culross, Fraserburgh, Kelso, Kilrenny, Lochgilphead, Lochmaben. This information relates to 1955 to 1956, except in the case of Kelso, when it is for 1954–55.

Mr. John Rankin (Glasgow, Govan)

I asked another question on this important issue during the Committee stage and perhaps the hon. Gentleman has brought along the answer to that one, too. It was, what difference will this make to the rents if a local authority decides to pay no contribution towards the cost of housing?

Mr. Browne

The hon. Gentleman would have to give me notice of that question, and tell me to which local authority he was referring.

Mr. Rankin

It is an important one.

Mr. Browne

I have answered the question of the right hon. Gentleman and, to bring the House back to what I was saying, it was secondly, within the average I quoted, that each local authority has to make its own decision of the correct division of the burden of housing cost between those who pay rent and those who pay rates.

Thirdly, and this answers the hon. Gentleman the Member for Kilmarnock to some extent, because there is such a large pool of subsidies, the Government have decided that it is right no longer to relate the subsidy to the cost of the house. If the Government have done that, why should we insist on the local authority continuing still so to do?

Mr. Fraser

But surely, in respect of houses which the local authorities possess at present, the Government have not made the change suggested by the hon. Gentleman. The Government are observing the contractual arrangement to pay the subsidy as laid down in the Statute in respect of those houses.

Mr. Browne

That is a fair point, but we are now treating the contractual arrangement as a pool, and we are no longer relating the individual house—some built when interest rates were low and the subsidy was generous, and others built at other times—to the Government subsidy. We are simply going on with the contracts we have already made. In requiring the local authorities to deal with their housing accounts, we are no longer requiring them to take that into consideration.

All we say is that the local authorities are obliged to square their housing accounts, and we can see no point in forcing them to pay from their rate fund a certain definite sum which will not be related to the new houses that are built under this Amendment, and which, as subsidies come to an end in the future, will be gradually a reducing sum. For that reason, I found it difficult to understand the idea behind the Amendment, which, I feel, is illogical.

Our view is that local authorities should manage their own affairs, and we want this to continue. I know that the hon. Gentleman does not agree, but that is the realistic policy of this Bill, to ensure only that the housing accounts are balanced, and to trust the local authorities to play fair with their people, both as rent payers and as ratepayers. In other words, because we on this side of the House trust the local authorities we cannot accept the Amendment.

Mr. Thomas Hubbard (Kirkcaldy Burghs)

I wish that the hon. Gentleman the Joint Under-Secretary or his colleagues, speaking in terms of this Bill and this Clause, would sometimes take into consideration the people who still require to be housed by the local authorities. They always seem to miss out the human element.

Under the existing arrangements, local authorities have contracted to pay a ratio towards the subsidy of a new house. By so doing, in conjunction with the existing subsidies, up to the time of this Bill they have been able to a large extent, and progressively, to house people decently. Slums are becoming less though they have not been eradicated, it is true. There are still large numbers of people who require houses. This means, in effect, that if the local authorities are to be allowed to contract out of the old arrangement, the greater will be their inability to meet housing needs in the future.

Mr. Browne indicated dissent.

Mr. Hubbard

Of course it will. If a local authority can afford to house its people after this Bill becomes an Act, it will do so on much smaller subsidies than hitherto it could get from the Government.

Mr. Browne

I am trying to follow the hon. Gentleman. I must point out that local authorities have not got to do that unless they want to do so. They are not forced to pay a smaller amount. If they wish, they can continue to pay what they pay now.

Mr. Hubbard

I am trying to get the hon. Gentleman to look at this matter not from the point of view of what the local authority can pay, but how the Bill will restrict the people still waiting to be housed. If a local authority has no obligation to pay, it will be almost impossible for it, without that contractual amount from the rates, to house its people. Indeed, the Secretary of State for Scotland has himself said on many occasions when we have spoken about the future difficulties of building houses under this Measure to meet the ordinary need, "Yes, but they have been drawing subsidies in the past, and they will be able to pool them." The right hon. Gentleman mentioned that again this afternoon.

Therefore, by refusing to accept this Amendment the Government are making it possible for bad local authorities, who will not pay the rate contribution, to put people in the same position as those in Dumfries. That is the point of this Amendment. The question of Dumfries has arisen because they have "jumped the gun". There is no doubt that, unless this Amendment is accepted, many other local authorities will follow suit, and we shall find in an area where there is a good local authority that it will still be able to house its people at reasonable rents in the future, in spite of the difficulties, whereas in the case of a bad local authority it will not be possible.

That may be in keeping with the general policy of the Government, that they want to see bad local authorities. Indeed, it would appear to be the only answer. The Joint Under-Secretary should think about this carefully. As a result of allowing the bad local authorities to contract out of this obligation there will be a big increase in rents, which is bound to be followed by a demand for increased wages, and that is not the kind of stability this country needs. Therefore, the Secretary of State is making a contribution that will prevent a balanced economy in the future.

4.30 p.m.

Until the Joint Under-Secretary and the Secretary of State think in terms of how the Measure will apply to people who are still to be housed, they are missing the whole point of the debate. Houses are built for people and not for local authorities, and the Government have a responsibility to ensure—it will be within their power if they accept the Amendment—that people have an opportunity to obtain a house at a fairly reasonable rent. If the example of the Dumfriesshire County Council is followed throughout Scotland, it will mean the end of the hopes of many young people of obtaining decent houses.

The Joint Under-Secretary has a tremendous responsibility. Judging by his previous statements, I should have thought that he would have given more consideration to the prospective tenants of houses than to local authorities. Local authorities should be free, but "freedom" is a dangerous word when used alone, for it may mean "freedom to exploit" as well as "freedom to help". Consequently, the Government have a responsibility to ensure that bad local authorities are at least forced to keep in line with good local authorities.

Mr. Willis

I was interested to hear the Joint Under-Secretary's closing remarks. He used a familiar phrase. He said, "This is a realistic policy". Whenever I hear a Tory talking about a "realistic" policy, I know that ordinary folk are to "get it in the neck". That is what always happens when a Government spokesman says "We must introduce an element of realism", so I am not surprised that the hon. Gentleman declines to accept the Amendment.

I was also struck by the rather naïve manner in which the hon. Gentleman said, "We are doing nothing. We are just leaving this to the local authorities." But the Government are doing something. They are giving the local authorities a lead. The fact that the Government are now saying "You need not pay anything" is an indication to the local authorities that they need not pay anything. The hon. Gentleman may not be in the inner councils of his party, but surely he knows that that is the message which his party intends to send to the local authorities—that they can stop paying the subsidy.

What does the hon. Gentleman think the so-called municipal ratepayers' associations and progressive associations throughout Scotland will say when they know about the Clause? They already say, "Why should we subsidise the people in municipal houses?" The Government have not the courage to say, "We think they should be subsidised in the same way as the Government have subsidised them." By telling the local authorities that they need not pay anything at all, the Government are providing them with an argument to reduce the subsidies.

Several times during our debates on the Clause I have asked—I have never been able to get the information—what would happen to rents if a local authority decided to pay no subsidy. In introducing the Bill, the hon. Gentleman said that rents would be increased by £5 a year as the result of the Measure. He has just told us that the average rate contribution per house is £6 10s. at present, but we have been told in other quarters that it will, in practically every case, be far higher than that. At all events, this comes to a figure of £11 10s., which means an increase of about 4s. 6d. per week on the rent. If the local authority has been paying more than that, the increase will be more. Does the hon. Gentleman think that tenants will pay these amounts without unions submitting claims for increased wages? Is that what the Government want?

The Prime Minister made a great speech at the weekend, using the Edwardian language which is typical of him. He spoke about "masters and men" getting together, which is language redolent of the beginning of this century. Surely he does not expect them to get together on the basis of this increase suddenly being thrust upon tenants by the Government's action.

The Amendment deals with the narrower point of whether or not local authorities should be able to stop the rate contribution in respect of houses which have already been completed. Surely there is no case at all for doing that. The hon. Gentleman did not produce a real argument. For what it was worth, his argument was that the Government no longer relate the subsidy to the cost of the house. I never knew that the subsidy was particularly closely related to the cost of the house. It is true that we fought for the subsidy to be increased when the cost of the house went up, but we were not successful. The housing subsidy has depended to a great extent upon what Government has been in power, and it has gone up and down accordingly ever since its introduction. Consequently, the hon. Gentleman's premise is not correct to begin with.

However, the Joint Under-Secretary says that, because the Government no longer relate the housing subsidy to the cost of the house, local authorities should not do so. The local authority subsidy has been related not to the cost of the house but to the Government's subsidy, and all we ask is that it should continue to do so in respect of those houses for which local authorities have already undertaken to pay a contribution. Surely it is logical that, if the Government intend to continue to pay the same subsidy in respect of those houses which have already been completed and the local authority subsidy is related to the Government subsidy, the local authority subsidy should also be continued. I should have thought that that was logical and reasonable and a course to be commended.

Apparently, however, it is nothing of the kind, and now we have a position in which nobody knows where he is. Even though they live in houses built before the Measure will come into operation, thousands of tenants in Scotland are worried about the possibility of rents increasing by 4s. or 5s. a week. Having regard to the example set by the Dumfries-shire County Council and the rents which are being charged by some other local authorities, these people have very good reason to worry.

I gave a number of examples from Dumfries-shire in Committee. The hon. Gentleman knows the conditions. He has received deputations about the matter. If this sort of thing happens all over Scotland—that might well be so—it will cause serious discontent, and that will have a bad effect upon industrial output. The Government have talked about doubling our standard of living in twenty-five years. At the present rate, under this Government we shall be halving our standard of living in twenty-five years.

I would urge the Joint Under-Secretary to look at the Amendment again. It is logical and does not stop the Government implementing this policy for new houses. However, we suggest that at least the Government should not ask local authorities to stop the subsidies already being given. The Government will not solve the financial difficulties of local authorities in that way. The Government are supposed to be considering local authority finances. I have seen no great ideas yet produced by the Government for solving the difficulties.

Perhaps this is one of the ways by which the Government hope to be able to say to local authorities that they have made it possible for the authorities to solve their own financial problems. The Government need not expect many authorities in Scotland to accept that argument. Certainly, Labour local authorities will not. I suggest that the hon. Gentleman reconsiders this matter before the Bill goes to another place.

Mr. Bence

I am always surprised when I hear a Minister saying of a Bill that he has provided a door to a sort of passageway and, when we complain that the door and the passageway are dangerous, saying that it does not matter because the Government are satisfied that no one will use them. It always seems rather stupid to open a door if one is satisfied that no one will use it. The best thing to do is to brick up the door, thus preventing draughts. If a door is not to be used, what is the point of having it?

I am satisfied that many local authorities will use this door. In fact, some are already doing so. My hon. Friends have referred to Dumfries, but I can quote the case of Milngavie. Milngavie is a good case, because next year the Labour Party will gain control of the council there and all the schemes pushed through the door will undoubtedly be stopped. Milngavie is a very small burgh, controlled by nine independent progressive Conservative Liberals. I think that that is the combination. They have said that about 1,500 tenants of local authority houses among 3,000 or 4,000 owner-occupiers and private tenants must among themselves, subsidise the cost of houses built from 1919–55.

As a result, two-room old folks' houses in Milngavie are now to be let at a maximum rent of 36s. a week. Even rents like that do not wipe out the housing account deficit. There is still a deficit of about £7,000, even though two-room houses will have an inclusive rent of 36s. a week and five-apartment houses a rent of £2 9s. That is for houses built at a cost of £400 between 1919 and 1926. The rents will be £2 9s. a week, so that houses now being built can be let at the same figure. In other words, a small section of tenants in Milngavie are, through their rents, not through their rates, to subsidise houses built after the war.

So many people in Milngavie have seen the injustice of this that, much to the surprise of hon. Members opposite, many who are not tenants of council houses have voted against this vicious proposal. In Milngavie, are about 200 two-apartment houses. Last Saturday, there was brought to my notice the case of a lady who was living with her mother, both of them working. The tenancy was in the name of the person with the lowest income, but the missive was sent to the person with the higher income, in order that a higher rent could be charged. That is a shocking thing, because the missive was in the name of the person who was a sub-tenant or lodger. That is the sort of tactics to be used; that is the door which has been opened by that council.

I am surprised that any Government should permit a proposition that the general body of ratepayers in an area should be absolved from all responsibility from the general burden of housing people in the present expensive conditions, while all responsibility is thrown on to that section of the community which must be housed in local authority houses. That is my great complaint. The Government are forcing a small section of people to bear the whole burden of the high cost of housing in local authority areas.

4.45 p.m.

My hon. Friends referred to the subsidy being related to the cost of the house, but the subsidy has always been related to the cost of money. It is the cost of money which has determined subsidies to local authorities. When we have suggested that there should be specially low interest rates for housing the people, we have been told that discrimination could not be allowed. But there has always been discrimination in lending money. Bankers have always discriminated. If one is in a sufficiently strong position, with a sufficiently strong proposal, one can always get better terms for an overdraft than if one is not so powerful. I see no reason why any Government of any country should not provide special interest rates in this important object of housing the people.

If something like that is not done, our present discussions now prove meaningless, because in a few years local authorities will stop building houses. The whole exercise since 1954 has been to slow down the housing of the people. Time and time again we have been told that the Rent Bill will release housing accommodation. Goodness only knows where it is to come from. This Bill will tend to decrease housing construction. People want to pay a reasonable rent so that they are left with enough to have decent standards of food and clothing. If the Amendment is not accepted, many people will be paying too high a rent for that. In the general inflationary situation, with the general fall in the value of money, we cannot expect a fall in the cost of house building.

I made it my business last Saturday to talk to some of the tradespeople in Milngavie, to butchers, grocers and greengrocers, and I went into two small cafés. I found that trade has dropped considerably. People in Milngavie are buying less meat. Some have had their rents increased from 23s. to 49s. Some have gone up higher than that, because they started from a smaller figure, but £2 9s. is the maximum. The tradespeople are already feeling the pinch, because people are spending less money.

The ultimate effect of what the Joint Under-Secretary is suggesting by giving the local authorities freedom not to make a statutory contribution to the housing fund is that, as we increase the amount of money which people have to find for housing accommodation—because they must have it—the less they will have to spend on goods and services of all sorts, and particularly on food.

People will cut down on other things, because they must have a roof over their heads, and we shall very soon be back to the situation which we had between the wars, when huge numbers of owneroccupiers—and I am sure that this is as true of Scotland as it is of England and Wales—were so burdened down by heavy financial commitments, owing to the necessity of having a roof over their heads that, because they had to find that money they had to do without things which were needed in the home. Indeed, malnutrition and real physical poverty was very often more recognisable in those areas in which people were committed to higher financial commitments than in the areas where people paid lower rents.

My wife was in London here last week, and I was surprised to hear from her that one can buy fruit, meat, vegetables, cheese and butter much more cheaply in London than one can in Scotland. In fact, in Scotland, the average household buys more of the heavy foods than people do here, though that may partly be because rents are not so high there. I am quite satisfied from my own experience that if we drive rents up and keep on driving them up, as the Government are trying to do, we shall drive people to spend less on buying food and less on the precautions necessary for the preservation of their health and well-being. Those are very dangerous trends.

I hope that the hon. Gentleman will not open that door. For goodness sake, let him shut it now. Do not let us give the local authorities the right to contract out of making a statutory contribution. The local authorities which will do that will very often be a small group of authorities having a small number of municipal tenants in their areas, and, therefore, in a better position to spread the burden over the whole community. If an area consisted exclusively of municipal houses, with no privately owned houses or owner-occupier houses, the argument would not arise. but in the case of those authorities in whose area there is only a small group of council houses, such as Milngavie, which is in my own constituency and is the best example I know, it really would be unfair to throw the whole burden back upon a small group of council house tenants. If it is spread over the whole area, the cost per annum would be very small indeed, whereas if limited to a very small group it would be vicious. I therefore hope that the hon. Gentleman will look at the matter again and see whether he cannot accept the Amendment.

Mr. Woodburn

We do not wish to exaggerate the importance of the form of the Amendment. What lies behind it is much more important than its actual wording. We accept what the Joint Under-Secretary says that, for the great majority of local authorities in Scotland, this will make no difference whatsoever, that a local authority will accept its responsibilities and will deal with the rents of houses responsibly and with due regard to its population.

There is a serious problem in regard to a great number of the small authorities which the hon. Gentleman has mentioned. I fear that many of them will not build any houses at all. Therefore, there will be neither subsidies nor houses in the case of some of these local authorities which he has mentioned. The Joint Under-Secretary will have noticed from the speeches of some of my hon. Friends that the example of the Dumfries-shire County Council has come as a shock to all hon. Members. especially those on this side of the House.

Dumfriesshire has a special importance at this moment. I understand that it has one of the big reserves of coking coal which will become tremendously important in the future development of Scotland. If a local authority like the county council of Dumfries is to take the advice of the Government—and it is rather strong advice from the Government—then it is like saying to the local authority "We are not stopping you from supplying any milk for children, but we are not going to give you any more money for it."

It is like saying "We do not compel anyone to sleep under bridges, as used to be the case in the old days." Rich and poor alike, as Anatole France said, are equally free to sleep or not to sleep under bridges, but if all the money is taken out of a man's pocket and he is deprived of the means of paying for lodgings, there is a greater chance of him sleeping under bridges than if he were a free agent. if we take money from the local authorities it is a pressure on them either to economise at somebody else's expense or not to do its duty.

If, to take the case of Dumfries-shire, that kind of example is given to the whole country by the irresponsible way in which the county council has started to deal with rents, it will, if followed, make housing almost prohibitive from the point of view of a great number of tenants. Let us imagine that the coking coal to which I have referred is to be developed in Dumfries-shire, and that the National Coal Board, the local authority, or the Secretary of State for Scotland wish to provide a new town, or what would approximate to a new town, in the area of a local authority. Will there be the slightest chance that any miners will leave Fife, the Lothians or Lanarkshire to go into Dumfries-shire, if this kind of rent policy is to be pursued, with the encouragement of the Government?

This attitude of the Government in passing on a hint, with a kick of the boot, at the same time, suggesting that rents ought to be raised, which has already resulted, as I think one of my hon. Friends has already said, in Dumfries-shire "jumping the gun", makes us feel that we ought to make some protest against it. Since we have been debarred from making it in the discussion on other parts of the Bill by the tightness of the way in which Amendments have been drawn, we propose to register our protest by going into the Division Lobby in favour of this Amendment.

Mr. J. C. George (Glasgow, Pollok)

I find great difficulty in following some of the reasoning of hon. Members opposite on, this Amendment. I think that the hon. Member for Kirkcaldy Burghs (Mr. Hubbard) asked what effect it would have upon the waiting lists, and what chance those on the waiting lists would have of getting houses if the Amendment were not accepted. This Amendment has nothing 10 do with houses to be built in the future: it applies only to houses built before the passing of this Bill.

Mr. Willis

Surely, the hon. Gentleman is making a mistake here? Inasmuch as the subsidies are to be pooled, and the rents based on the pooled subsidies, whatever happens to the subsidy, whether in respect of past or future subsidies, will have an effect on rents.

Mr. George

This Amendment has nothing to do with subsidies; it specially deals with houses built with assistance from the rates. It concerns the local authority contribution to the housing account, and the Amendment stops there. It makes it compulsory in regard to houses built in the past. Therefore, it has nothing to do with houses to be built in the future.

Let me try to put the point more clearly. This Amendment seeks to impose upon the local authority the continued payment of a contribution from the rates in respect of houses built before the passing of the Bill. Therefore, it leaves the authority free to pay or not to pay in respect of new houses.

Mr. Willis

The subsidies are pooled.

Mr. T. Fraser

Will the hon. Gentleman have a look at the next Amendment on the Notice Paper, from which he will see that, in respect of future houses, if our advice were taken, the authority would be required to make a contribution.

Mr. George

I am talking about the Amendment that we are now discussing. Obviously, the hon. Member for Hamilton (Mr. T. Fraser) agrees with me, so that I need not pursue that point any further.

The hon. Member for Dunbartonshire. East (Mr. Bence) says that this Clause will he creating difficulties for the future. Again, the hon. Gentleman has not read his own Amendment for, under it, he is quite agreeable that the local authority should be free not to pay a minimum contribution on houses built in the future.

Mr. Bence

Will the hon. Gentleman give way?

5.0 p.m.

Mr. George

No, I will not.

I want hon. Members to consider the contribution made to the debate by the hon. Member for Maryhill (Mr. Hannan). He said that if the Amendment were not accepted, the position in Glasgow would be lamentable. What does the Bill do? It gives the local authority freedom to pay what it likes into the housing account. The local authority has that freedom now. In the future there can be no minimum, but at the moment there is. Let us see what local authorities are doing now with the housing account, and whether there are any grounds for the fears expressed. Let us look at what happens when they have the freedom to pay what they like. as at the moment, and, at the same time, are compelled by Statute to pay a certain figure which amounts to one part in four.

At the moment when the law says that the local authorities shall pay one part in four, what, in fact, are they paying? One has only to look at the rating review to see what the cities are doing. The grant is 28 per cent. of the total housing expenditure. The local authorities could pay about 9 per cent., whereas, in fact, they are paying 29 per cent. At this moment, when they have the freedom to do what they like, they are paying 29 per cent. as against the statutory 9 per cent. In the large burghs 29 per cent. of the expenditure comes from grant and, therefore, 8 per cent. should be paid by the local authorities. But they are paying 31 per cent., which is nearly 4 times what they are supposed to pay by Statute. In the small burghs, such as Milngavie, which was mentioned by hon. Members opposite, they get 32 per cent. of their expenditure by way of grant and they should pay only 11 per cent. In fact, they are paying 23 per cent. That is what is happening now.

Mr. Woodburn

The hon. Gentleman is giving a lot of history and facts about the past.

Mr. J. N. Browne

It is the truth.

Mr. Woodburn

The facts are usually the truth.

The point of our protest is that if the Government encourage local authorities to raise rents and if that is done in what appears to be an irresponsible fashion, it will have very severe consequences on the transfer of population and the rearrangement of industry in Scotland.

Mr. George

The trouble is that hon. Gentlemen opposite are trying to put forward the wrong arguments on the Amendment. Those arguments should be against cutting subsidies and not trying to argue against local authority contributions. If, as I have stated, the local authorities are all paying more by way of contribution than they are called upon to pay, what is going to happen overnight to create the fear that in Scotland house building will stop and that rents will rise to an enormous figure? Dumfries, which has been discussed so much, is now paying 23.5 per cent. from rates into the housing account whereas it should only be paying 10 per cent. if it stuck strictly to the Statute.

Mr. Ross

The hon. Gentleman says that the local authorities are doing so much just now. He is quoting from a document. Could he tell us the date of that document and whether it bears any relevance to the figures quoted by hon. Members on this side of the House?

Mr. George

I am quoting from the rating review, 1956. This is the most recent information, as the hon. Gentleman well knows, and I deduce from it that the fears expressed by hon. Members opposite are "phoney". There is no reason whatsoever to anticipate that the local authorities will in the future do other than carry out their duty in a proper manner, and, from all the evidence that we have had throughout the years, if they are going to err at all, they will err on the side of being generous to the council house tenant.

Miss Margaret Herbison (Lanarkshire, North)

I had no intention of speaking in this debate, but the speech to which we have just listened from the hon. Member for Pollok (Mr. George) has brought me to my feet. When we find an hon. Member producing what my right hon. Friend called a history book in support of his contentions, it shows how badly off are the Tories on the back benches for any arguments in support of their Bill. We have, and I think very rightly, told the House, in the debate on this Amendment what is happening to council house tenants in Dumfriesshire. We have spoken of the great difficulties being placed on every family that is living in a council house there.

In reply, the hon. Member for Pollok brought forward the rating review. 1956. The figure which he quoted would not be the rating contribution in 1956. I, would possibly be the rate contribution for 1955. What we are talking about in connection with the Amendment is what is the rate contribution paid by Dumfriesshire at the present moment. No one has been able to tell us that. It seems to me that what the Tory-controlled local authority of Dumfries-shire has done might well be copied by many other Tory-controlled local authorities in Scotland.

It is because we are so afraid of that, and because we were unable, in Committee, to get the Minister to accept our Amendments on the matter, which would have ensured the continuance of a rate contribution not only for houses already built, but for houses to be built in the future, that we put down this Amendment today. The hon. Member for Pollok says what will have to be put on the rents, and yet his hon. Friend, in telling us about the subsidies which are coming from the Government, tells us that they will not be attached to individual houses. In other words, he is saying that the Government are going to give the local authorities almost a block grant by way of subsidies and that the local authorities will divide that block grant over the rents of all their houses, those already built and those yet to be built.

Is that not exactly what one would expect? The Tory-controlled local authorities, under the Bill as it stands at present, will be able to decide to pay no rate contributions at all and that will mean that the pool will be a smaller pool and, consequentially, that the rent will have to rise. The hon. Member for Pollok should really examine more carefully the arguments put forward from this side of the House, and when he goes to the Library or to his locker to find ammunition with which to back up his case he should see that he gets up-to-date information.

Mr. George

Could the hon. Lady tell me where I could get more up-to-date information, and, when she talks about what Tory-controlled local authorities will do in the future, could she say what they are doing now?

Miss Herbison

In the first instance, if the hon. Gentleman does not know where to find the right information he should be most careful not to quote the kind of information that he quoted in his speech. He should not try to back up his case with it. If he wanted information with which to back up his case, he should have got in touch with Dumfriesshire, or with any local authority, which would have been able to give him the facts. Then there are the so-called temporary houses; houses supposed to stand for ten years and then be demolished, and for which £130 a year has to be paid. That is what the Tory-controlled Dumfriesshire local authority has done, and that is what we are so afraid will happen in the case of other Tory-controlled authorities.

Mr. George Lawson (Motherwell)

The hon. Member for Pollok (Mr. George) has been very well answered. It is quite clear from what he says that he thinks that the rate contribution which is at present paid on existing houses is far too high. He wants to see it very substantially reduced, if not wiped out.

Mr. George

The hon. Member must not distort what I said. I quoted what was being done. I showed what local authorities were paying now by way of rate contribution, and drew the lesson that local authorities would look after council tenants in future. I did not use the figures to pass any opinion as to what they should do.

Mr. Lawson

I think that the hon. Member is wrong about the lesson. If he is not speaking for himself he is speaking for his party when he talks about the rate contributions being far too high. Clearly, if they are to be reduced there must be a corresponding increase in rents.

Our point is a perfectly reasonable one, and I want to present it in a rather different way—by putting it in the form of a question. Will the Joint Under-Secretary give notice to local authorities that the Government no longer regard the provision of houses as an essential local government service? Is that the effect of this provision? Are they saying to local authorities, "This need no longer be an activity of yours"? I can read nothing else into the attitude which shows itself in the Clause and particularly in the rejection of the Amendment.

To talk of local authorities being left with the right to say "yea" or "nay" upon important matters of this kind is to deny all experience of the past. Local authorities used not to build houses; they never undertook to meet this problem of providing adequate houses until they were obliged to do so. It was never an undertaking on their part; in 1919 it was made a statutory obligation. The very existence of a statutory obligation indicates that whatever Government have been in power have continued to say, "The duty of providing these essential housing needs is a duty that we are imposing upon local authorities." By adopting the so-called permissive policy the Government are taking the opposite stand and saying, "This is no longer a duty that we expect you to carry through."

There can be no other explanation. I put it to hon. Members opposite that in all the important services undertaken by local authorities there has had to be some kind of obligation. Local authority work has not grown up just from the love of the thing; its activity has grown up over the years because essential social needs were not being met. They had to be met in some way, and this involved the intervention of the central Government.

Does anybody think that we should have had a universal compulsory educational system, or any educational system at all, were it not for the fact that this had been an obligation placed upon local authorities by the State? Does anybody think that we would have any health services if it had not been for the fact that obligations have been placed upon local authorities? Should we have had a police force? In the past the police force was organised to protect property. That is not so today, but it used to be so. Does anybody believe that the mass of the people would want to contribute towards the protection of property? This, too, was an obligation placed upon local authorities, because the central Government realised that these matters had to be attended to.

5.15 p.m.

That is also the case with housing. Our people have lived under conditions of dreadful squalor. We need not go into detail, but Scotland's record is as bad as anybody's when it was left to chance or speculation to provide houses. The houses that were built then were scarcely fit for rats. Then the central Government said. "Here is a job that has to be done. In this day and age we can no longer permit people to live in these conditions, but they will go on living in those conditions unless local authorities take steps to see that the situation is improved." The 1919 Act imposed obligations. The State said, "We will accept part of the burden, and place the rest of the burden upon you." I do not think that the hon. Member for Pollok will challenge me when I say that if the problem had not been approached in that way we should not have got out of the mess that we were in.

As for all this talk of people benefiting from subsidies—let us recognise that we are all part of society, and that it is very difficult to value the contribution that any one person makes—the man who earns thousands of pounds a year or the fellow with a few pounds a week. We must accept the responsibility for seeing that the necessary jobs are done upon the basis of collective responsibility. Hon. Members on this side of the House stand for the extension of the area of collective responsibility, and that is precisely what the Government are trying to oppose and break down. They are trying to narrow the area of collective responsibility or even to get rid of it, on the plea that there is plenty of room at the top, with their talk of enterprise, opportunity and all that nonsense.

The Joint Under-Secretary smiles. I ask him again whether he denies that what we are doing here is to give local authorities notice that in future they need no longer regard housing as an essential local authority service? What is the future? We have heard the Joint Under-Secretary himself say that, as the Government see it, in the near future there will be no housing subsidies at all and no rates for housing. Do we think that when the Government get to the stage of providing no subsidies for general housing need—as they have in England and Wales—local authorities will continue making a rate contribution? Surely if we wipe out subsidies we must also realise that we shall wipe out rate contributions.

The only possibility of reasonable houses being built under this conditions will be through trade unions insisting upon workers getting a very much larger share of the nation's wealth than they arc at present receiving. At present, persons receiving a wage of £6 or £7 a week cannot get suitable houses upon any kind of economic basis—and by houses I mean those that approximate to the standards which we have now come to demand, with baths, inside water supplies and inside lavatories. We want a standard which will enable us to avoid living and having our beings in one room—a one-room kitchen. Those standards cannot now be provided on the basis of the lowest wage being paid.

The only possibility of working people receiving the housing standard that they should receive will be upon the basis of their proportion of the nation's wealth being made very much larger, or the central Government contribution and the rate contribution continuing. Again, I ask the Joint Under-Secretary whether what I have said is true; that by taking this line, the Government have given notice that henceforward the provision of houses is not to be regarded by local authorities—or by the central Government for that matter—as an essential need.

Mr. J. N. Browne

The hon. Member for Motherwell (Mr. Lawson) asked me whether the Government no longer regard housing as an essential service. In this Bill, the Government have shown special consideration for the special needs of Scotland and I think that the hon. Gentleman will acknowledge that. Of course, housing is an essential Government service. We are concerned with the extent of the contribution towards local authority housing to be made by the people—perhaps by the hon. Member for Motherwell, I do not know—as United Kingdom taxpayers, as ratepayers and as tenants of these local authority houses. We are concerned with the extent of the division between these three aspects of ourselves as payers of taxes.

Mr. Lawson

As a person buying his home on the "never-never" system, I am quite prepared to make my contribution to the needs of my fellow beings.

Mr. Browne

That is quite in keeping with the views of the hon. Member.

The right hon. Member for East Stirlingshire (Mr. Woodburn) was worried, as were other hon. Members, about the possibility of local authority rents in Scotland being raised. I take no exception to the fact that he sought to pin this possibility on the cancellation of the statutory rate contribution. I think the right hon. Gentleman realises that this raising of rents in Scotland will happen in any case, and not because of this Clause or even of this Bill. Were there no Bill at all, the average of rents in Scotland would have to be about doubled if on average local authorities were to square their housing accounts.

Mr. T. Fraser

What is meant by "squaring a housing account"?

Mr. Browne

To make it balance with the classical statutory rate contribution. That is what is meant by the squaring of a housing account.

Hon. Members will not forget that Scottish rentals are about half the amount of English rentals for an equivalent house. Even taking the burden of rates and rents together we in Scotland still pay substantially less than our English counterparts. The hon. Member for Edinburgh, East (Mr. Willis) took exception to the word, "realistic". I should have realised that he would. There was another speech where he took exception to it—

Mr. Willis

There were a good many other speeches.

Mr. Browne

This Government faces facts—[HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."]—and I am beginning to believe that the hon. Member, for whom I have such a high regard, is just another Socialist living in "Cloud-cuckoo-land." However, the hon. Gentleman asked me a question which I think I should answer—

Mr. Willis

And do not let us have a "Cloud-cuckoo-land" answer.

Mr. Browne

The hon. Gentleman said we intend that local authorities should make no contribution equivalent to the statutory rate contribution. The facts of local authority finance on which this part of the Bill is based arc that if local authorities pool their subsidies and gradually adjust their rents, if necessary with a rent rebate scheme, and if they work towards the time when they pay no more into their housing accounts than one-third of the Exchequer subsidies—which is the equivalent of the statutory rate contribution—they can balance their housing accounts and go on building, and they can effect reductions—in some cases, substantial reductions—in the rate poundage.

This is a matter solely for the local authorities and that is the basis of the calculation upon which this Bill stands. Many local authorities remember what right hon. and hon. Gentlemen opposite tend to forget, that if the rents go up the rates will go down. It is for local authorities to decide the division of the burden to be carried between rentpayer and ratepayer.

Mr. T. Fraser

The hon. Gentleman has described housing as an essential local service. Will he say whether there is any other essential local service in respect of which the local authority is not obliged to make a contribution from the rates? The answer is, "No."

Mr. Browne

The hon. Gentleman has answered his own question.

Dr. J. Dickson Mabon (Greenock)

A realistic and genuine point which was made during the Committee stage discussions has so far remained unanswered. There is an inconsistency between Clause 5 and Clause 9. In Clause 5, we abolish the statutory right and, so to speak, say that the slogan is, "We trust the local authorities." Yet, in Clause 9, we proceed to lay down a minimum contribution by the exporting authority; in other words, we do not trust the local authorities. Why do we have this inconsistency? So far we have not received an answer to that. Can the Minister tell us the answer?

Division No. 131.] AYES [5.27 p.m.
Alnsley, J. W. Grenfell, Rt. Hon. D. R. Moody, A. S.
Albu, A. H. Grey, C. F. Morrison, Rt. Hn. Herbert(Lewis'm, S.)
Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.) Griffiths, David (Rother Valley) Moss, R.
Allen, Arthur (Bosworth) Griffiths, Rt. Hon. James (Llanelly) Moyle, A.
Allen, Scholefield (Crewe) Hall, Rt. Hon. Glenvil (Colne Valley) Neal, Harold (Bolsover)
Awbery, S. S. Hamilton, W. W. Noel-Baker, Francis (Swindon)
Bacon, Miss Alice Hannan, W. Oliver, G. H.
Balfour, A. Hastings, S. Oram, A. E.
Bence, C. R. (Dunbartonshire, E.) Healey, Dents Orbach, M.
Benn, Hn. Wedgwood (Bristol, S.E.) Henderson, Rt. Hn. A. (Rwly Regis) Oswald, T.
Benson, G. Herbison, Miss M. Paling Rt. Hon. W. (Dearne Valley)
Beswick, Frank Hobson, C. R. (Keighley) Pannell, Charles (Leeds, W.)
Bevan, Rt. Hon. A. (Ebbw Vale) Holmes, Horace Pargiter, G. A.
Blackburn, F. Howell, Denis (All Saints) Parker, J.
Blenkinsop, A. Hoy, J. H. Paton, John
Blyton, W. R. Hubbard, T. F. Pearson, A.
Bowden, H. W. (Leicester, S.W.) Hughes, Cledwyn (Anglesey) Pentland, N.
Bowles, F. G. Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayrshire) Plummer, Sir Leslie
Braddock, Mrs. Elizabeth Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.) Popplewell, E.
Brockway, A. F. Hunter, A. E. Price, J. T. (Westhoughton)
Broughton, Dr. A. D. D. Hynd, H. (Accrington) Probert, A. R.
Brown, Rt. Hon. George (Belper) Hynd, J. B. (Attercliffe) Pryde, D. J.
Burke, W. A. Irvine, A. J. (Edge Hill) Randall, H. E.
Burton, Miss F. E. Jay, Rt. Hon. D. P. T. Redhead, E. C.
Butler, Herbert (Hackney, C.) Jeger, George (Goole) Reeves, J.
Butler, Mrs. Joyce (Wood Green) Jeger, Mrs. Lena(Holbn & St.Pnos,S.) Reid, William
Callaghan, L. J. Johnson, James (Rugby) Rhodes, H.
Carmichael, J. Johnston, Douglas (Paisley) Robens, Rt. Hon. A.
Castle, Mrs. B. A. Jones, Rt. Hon. A. Creech(Wakefleld) Roberts, Albert (Normanton)
Champion, A. J. Jones, David (The Hartlepools) Robinson, Kenneth (St. Pan was, N.)
Chetwynd, G. R. Jones, Elwyn (W. Ham, S.) Ross, William
Clunie, J. Jones, J. Idwal (Wrexham) Royle, C.
Coldrick, W. Jones, T. W. (Merioneth) Shinwell, Rt. Hon. E.
Collick, p. H. (Birkenhead) Kenyon, C. Short, E. W.
Collins, V. j. (Shoreditch & Finsbury) Key, Rt. Hon. C. W. Silverman, Julius (Aston)
Corbet, Mrs. Freda King, Dr. H. M. Silverman, Sydney (Nelson)
Craddock, George (Bradford, S.) Lawson, G. M. Simmons, C. J. (Brierley Hill)
Cullen, Mrs. A. Lee, Frederick (Newton) Skeffington, A. M.
Darling, George (Hillsborough) Lee, Miss Jennie (Cannock) Slater, Mrs. H. (Stoke, N.)
Davies. Rt. Hon. Clement (Montgomery) Lewis, Arthur Slater, J. (Sedgefield)
Davies, Ernest (Enfield, E.) Lindgren, G. S. Snow, J. W.
Davies, Harold (Leek) Lipton, Marcus Soskice, Rt. Hon. Sir Frank
Deer G. Mabon, Dr. J. Dickson Sparks, J. A.
Donnelly, D. L. MacColl, J. E. Steele, T.
Dugdale, Rt. Hn. John (W. Brmwch) McGhee, H. G. Stewart, Michael (Fulham)
Ede, Rt. Hon. J. C. McGovern, J. Stonehouse, John
Edelman, M. McKay, John (Wallsend) Stones, W. (Consett)
Edwards, Rt. Hon. John (Brighouse) MacMillan, M. K. (Western Isles) Strachey, Rt. Hon. J.
Edwards, Robert (Bilston) MacPherson, Malcolm (Stirling) Strauss, Rt. Hon. George (Vauxhall)
Edwards, W. J. (Stepney) Mahon, Simon Summerskill, Rt. Hon. E.
Evans, Albert (Islington, S.W.) Mallalieu, J. P. W. (Huddersfd, E.) Swingler, S. T.
Fienburgh, W. Mann, Mrs. Jean Sylvester, G. O.
Finch, H. J. Marquand, Rt. Hon. H. A. Taylor, Bernard (Mansfield)
Forman, J. C. Mason, Roy Thomson, George (Dundee, E.)
Fraser, Thomas (Hamilton) Mellish, R. J. Tomney, F.
Gaitskell, Rt. Hon. H. T. N. Messer, Sir F. Ungoed-Thomas, Sir Lynn
George, Lady Megan Lloyd(Car'then) Mikardo, Ian Viant, S. P.
Gibson, C. W. Mitchison, G. R. Warbey, W. N.
Gordon Walker, Rt. Hon. P. C. Monslow, W. Watkins, T. E.
Mr. Browne

The hon. Member is quite wrong. It is not an inconsistency. The parallel is rather with the Government continuing to carry out their obligation in paying an Exchequer subsidy. Because the receiving authority wants to know how much it is getting, it must have a fixed payment from the exporting authority. It is no parallel with an authority building for itself.

Question put,That those words be there inserted in the Bill:—

The House divided: Ayes 196, Noes 228.

Weitzman, D. Wilkins, W. A. Woodburn, Rt. Hon. A.
Wells, Percy (Faversham) Willey, Frederick Woof, R. E.
Well., William (Walsall, N.) Williams, Ronald (Wigan) Yates, V. (Ladywood)
West, D. G. Williams, Rt. Hon. T. (Don Valley) Younger, Rt. Hon. K.
Wheeldon, W. E. Williams, W. R. (Openshaw) Zilliacus, K.
White, Henry (Derbyshire, N.E.) Willis, Eustace (Edinburgh, E.)
Wigg, George Wilson, Rt. Hon. Harold (Huyton) TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Mr. John Taylor and Mr. Rogers.
Agnew, Sir Peter Gomme-Duncan, Col. Sir Alan Maddan, Martin
Aitken, W. T. Goodhart, Philip Maitland, Hon. Patrick (Lanark)
Alport, C. J. M. Gower, H. R. Manningham-Buller, Rt. Hn. Sir R.
Amory, Rt. Hn. Heathcoat (Tlverton) Graham, Sir Fergus Marples, Rt. Hon. A. E.
Anstruther-Gray, Major Sir William Grant, W. (Woodside) Marshall, Douglas
Arbutnnot, John Grant-Ferris, Wg Cdr. R. (Nantwich) Mat hew, R.
Armstrong, C. W. Green, A Maude, Angus
Ashton, H. Gresham Cooke, R. Maudling, Rt. Hon. R.
Atkins, H. E. Grimond, J. Mawby, R. L.
Baldwin, A. E. Grimston, Sir Robert (Westbury) Milligan, Rt. Hon. W. R.
Balniel, Lord Hall, John (Wycombe) Molson, Rt. Hon. Hugh
Barber, Anthony Harris, Frederic (Croydon, N.W.) Moore, Sir Thomas
Barlow, Sir John Harris, Reader (Heston) Mott-Radclyffe, Sir Charles
Barter, John Harrison, A. B. C. (Maldon) Nabarro, G. D. N.
Baxter, Sir Beverley Harrison, Col. J. H. (Eye) Nairn, D. L. S.
Beamish, Maj. Tufton Harvey, John (Walthamstow, E.) Nicholls, Harmar
Bell, Ronald (Bucks, S.) Hay, John Nicolson, N. (B'n'm'th, E. & Chr'ch)
Bennett, Dr. Reginald Head, Rt. Hon. A. H. Nugent, G. R. H.
Bevins, j. R. (Toxteth) Heald, Rt. Hon. Sir Lionel Oakshott, H. D.
Bidgood, J. C. Henderson, John (Cathcart) O'Neill, Hn. Phelim (Co. Antrim, N.)
Biggs-Davison, J. A. Hioks-Beach, Maj. W. W. Orr, Capt. L. P. S.
Birch, Rt. Hon. Nigel Hill, Mrs. E. (Wythenshawe) Orr-Ewing, Charles Ian (Hendon, N.)
Bishop, F. P. Hill, John (S. Norfolk) Page, R. G.
Black, C. W. Hirst, Geoffrey Pannell, N. A. (Kirkdale)
Body, R. F. Holland-Martin, C. J. Partridge, E.
Boothby, Sir Robert Hope, Lord John Pickthorn, K. W. M.
Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hon. J. A. Hornby, R. P. Pilkington, Capt. R. A.
Boyle, Sir Edward Hornsby-Smith, Miss M. P. Pitt, Miss E. M.
Braine, B. R. Horsbrugh, Rt. Hon. Dame Florence Pott, H. P.
Browne, J. Nixon (Craigton) Howard, Hon. Greville (St. Ives) Powell, J. Enoch
Bryan, P. Hulbert, Sir Norman Price, David (Eastleigh)
Bullus, Wing Commander E. E. Hutchison, Sir Ian Clark (E'b'gh, W.) Price, Henry (Lewisham, W.)
Burden, F. F. A. Hutchison, Sir James (Scotstoun) Prior-Palmer, Brig. O. L.
Butcher, Sir Herbert Hyde, Montgomery Profumo, J. D.
Butler, Rt. Hn. R.A.(Saffron Walden) Hylton-Foster, Rt. Hon. Sir Harry Raikes, Sir Victor
Campbell, Sir David Iremonger, T. L. Rawlinson, Peter
Cary, Sir Robert Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye) Redmayne, M.
Channon, Sir Henry Jenkins, Robert (Dulwich) Remnant, Hon. P.
Cole, Norman Jennings, J. C. (Burton) Ridsdale, J. E.
Cooke, Robert C. Johnson, Dr. Donald (Carlisle) Robertson, Sir David
Cooper, A. E. Johnson, Eric (Blackley) Robinson, Sir Roland (Blackpool, S.)
Cordeaux, Lt.-Col. J K. Joseph, Sir Keith Rodgers, John (Sevenoaks)
Corfield, Capt. F. V. Joynson-Hicks, Hon. Sir Lancelot Roper, Sir Harold
Craddock, Beresford (Spelthorne) Keegan, D. Russell, R. S.
Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col. O. E. Kerby, Capt. H. B. Scott-Miller, Cmdr. R.
Crowder, Sir John (Flnchley) Kerr, H. W. Sharples, R. C.
Crowder, Petre (Ruislip—Northwood) Kershaw, J. A. Shepherd, William
Cunningham, Knox Kimball, M. Simon, J. E. S. (Middlesbrough, W.)
Currie, G. B. H. Kirk, P. M. Smithers, Peter (Winchester)
Dance, J. C. G. Lambert, Hon. G. Smyth, Brig. Sir John (Norwood)
Davidson, Viscountess Lambton, Viscount Speir, R. M.
Digby, Simon Wingfield Lancaster, Col. C. G. Spence, H. R. (Aberdeen, W.)
Dodds-Parker, A. D. Langford-Holt, J. A. Spens, Rt. Hn. Sir P. (Kens'gt'n, S.)
Donaldson, Cmdr. C. E. Mc A. Leburn, W. C. Stevens, Geoffrey
Doughty, C. J. A. Legh, Hon. Peter (Petersfield) Steward, Harold (Stockport, S.)
Drayson, G. B. Lindsay, Hon. James (Devon, N.) Steward, Sir William (Woolwich, W.)
du Cann, E. D. L. Linstead, Sir H. N. Stoddart-Scott, col. M.
Dugdale, Rt. Hn. Sir T. (Richmond) Lloyd, Maj. Sir Guy (Renfrew, E.) Storey, S.
Duthie, W. S. Longden, Gilbert Stuart, Rt. Hon. James (Moray)
Eden, J. B. (Bournemouth, West) Low, Rt. Hon. A. R. W. Studholme, Sir Henry
Elliot, Rt. Hon. W. E. (Kelvingrove) Lucas, Sir Jocelyn (Portsmouth, S.) Taylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne)
Elliott, R.W.(N'castle upon Tyne, N.) Lucas, P. B. (Brentford & Chiswiok) Teeling, W.
Emmet, Hon. Mrs. Evelyn Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh Thomas, Leslie (Canterbury)
Errington, Sir Eric McAdden, S. J, Thompson, Kenneth (Walton)
Farey-Jones, F. W. Macdonald, Sir Peter Thompson, Lt.-Cdr. R.(Croydon, S.)
Finlay, Graeme McKibbin, A. J. Thornton-Kemsley, C. N.
Fisher, Nigel Mackie, J. H. (Galloway) Tiley, A. (Bradford, W.)
Foster, John McLaughlin, Mrs. P. Turton, Rt. Hon. R. H.
Fraser, Sir Ian (M'cmbe & Lonsdale) Maclay, Rt. Hon. John Tweedsmuir, Lady
Freeth, Denzil Maclean, Fitzroy (Lancaster) Vane, W. M. F.
George, J. C. (Pollok) McLean, Neil (Inverness) Vaughan-Morgan, J. K.
Gibson-Watt, D. Macmillan, Maurice (Halifax) Vickers, Miss Joan
Godber, J. B. Macpherson, Niall (Dumfries) Vosper, Rt. Hon. D. F.
Wakefield, Edward (Derbyshire, W.) Watkinson, Rt. Hon. Harold Yates, William (The Wrekin)
Wakefield, Sir Wavell (St. M'lebone) Williams, Paul (Sunderland, S.)
Wall, Major Patrick Williams, R. Dudley (Exeter) TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Ward, Rt. Hon. G. R. (Worcester) Woollam, John Victor Mr. Wills and Mr. Brooman-White.