HC Deb 11 March 1958 vol 584 cc212-3
16. Mrs. Mann

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland how far the 3,267 houses which were relet during a specified period last year included council houses, exchanges of tenancies, and transfer of tenancies obligatory under the Acts.

The Secretary of State for Scotland (Mr. John Maclay)

This figure, which I quoted in the debate on 3rd March as a sample of the houses decontrolled under Section 11 (2) of the Rent Act, 1957, does not include council houses or transmissions of tenancies by succession under the Rent Acts. I regret that the related figure, which I quoted at the same time, of the number of houses becoming vacant, which was supplied to me by the Glasgow Property Owners and Factors Association, should have been 4,310 instead of 3,310; this makes the percentage of houses relet in this sample 75 per cent. instead of 98 per cent. This mistake was brought to my notice by the Association yesterday evening, and I have taken this first opportunity to ask the House to accept my apologies.

Mrs. Mann

Does not that indicate how wrong it is for the Secretary of State to place any reliance whatever on the property owners of Glasgow, on either their promises or on the figures they submit? Could not any man in the streets of Glasgow have told him that 98 per cent. was a fantastic figure?

Mr. Maclay

I remind the hon. Lady that I emphasised very clearly at the time that this was a sample and did not represent the figures for the whole of Glasgow. I have pointed out that as soon as the Property Owners Association realised that a mistake had been made, it got in touch with me; and I have informed the House at the first opportunity.

Mr. Woodburn

Is the Secretary of State sure that the property owners are not misleading him on this question? How many houses which were free to be sold have been relet and how many were transferred to other tenants by obligation?

Mr. Maclay

No, I think not. The Answer I gave was very carefully examined. The figures did not include council houses or transmissions of tenancies by succession under the Rent Acts, which is the point which the right hon. Gentleman has in mind.