HC Deb 09 June 1959 vol 606 c787
6. Mrs. Mann

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he is aware that there has been a considerable reduction in the number of houses completed in Scotland during this year; and what action he proposes to take in this matter.

Mr. J. N. Browne

In the first four months of this year, 9,666 houses were completed in Scotland, compared with 11,573 in the same period last year. As local authorities are free to build the houses required in their districts, no special action is called for.

Mrs. Mann

Is not that an astonishing reply? There has been a reduction of completed houses this year already of over 2,000 and at the same time we are looking for more employment, and building trade workers are on the dole. Is not this due to the Government's practice of withdrawing the subsidy and increasing interest rates?

Mr. Browne

It is not at all due to that. Many of the smaller local authorities have stopped building because there is no longer an urgent need—[HON. MEMBERS: "Nonsense."]—as we are all glad to see. Local authorities in industrial areas are tending to concentrate more on redevelopment and new, virgin sites are becoming less easy to find. This figure of 9,666 compares very favourably with the best similar four months under the Labour Government when the figure was not 9,666 but 8,642.