HC Deb 24 June 1958 vol 590 cc228-9
31. Mr. Hamilton

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will make a statement on his directive to new town development corporations to increase their rents.

Mr. Maclay

There was no formal directive, but my views on the low level of the existing rents and on the course of action I thought the Corporations should follow were made clear to them in discussion.

Mr. Hamilton

Is it not the case that this scheme was laid before the Development Corporations, that they asked whether in the Press statement they could use the words that it was a directive and that the Minister of State said that they could use those words? Further, can the right hon. Gentleman state whether the Development Corporations had any power to alter or modify the scheme laid before them?

Mr. Maclay

The position is that a scheme was shown to them. My words are correct; there was no formal directive in the technical sense of the word. I have to be frank about that. There was no formal directive. I think my first Answer made clear that my views were made very plain to the Development Corporations. I should like to examine the hon. Member's later question very carefully before I give a reply to it.

Mr. T. Fraser

Has not the right hon. Gentleman done his utmost to encourage the Development Corporations, if he has not directed them, to determine new rent levels which are precisely those which he asked local authorities to work towards over a period of years? Is not the increase much too sudden in this case?

Mr. Maclay

I cannot accept that increases of the order of 7s. 6d. a week at East Kilbride and 6s. in Glenrothes are too severe as increases in standard rents, especially when account is taken of the rent rebate scheme, which is a very fair scheme indeed.