HC Deb 20 December 1961 vol 651 cc1350-1
31. Mr. W. Hamilton

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will take steps to control land prices in Scotland, in view of the adverse effects which such prices have on the cost of 'building houses.

Mr. Maclay

No Sir. I consider that land prices in Scotland generally are reasonable and the best way of keeping them so is to ensure that enough land is zoned for building in the right places.

Mr. Hamilton

Is the Minister aware of the recently announced enormously increased prices, particularly in Edinburgh, and no doubt there will be others announced shortly in other cities? Does not he agree that this is bound to jeopardise future house-building at prices which people can pay, and can he say whether there is any connection between this development and the newly acquired interests in Scotland of Messrs Clore, Cotten and Macmillan?

Mr. Maclay

The hon. Member must appreciate that one cannot argue from an isolated instance. There have been one or two oases reported recently, but the information I have given is correct.

Mr. T. Fraser

Will the right hon. Gentleman say how many times land prices have to be multiplied before they become unreasonable?

Mr. Maclay

That is an entirely hypothetical question.

Mr. Manuel

Will not the right hon. Gentleman become seized of the idea that land prices are going very high? Is he aware that if he intends to achieve success with his housing measures in redeveloped town centres and other places where sites are in private hands, he will have to exercise more control, or the local authorities will be impeded in redeveloping those areas?

Mr. Maclay

The hon. Member will be aware that once the area of comprehensive development has been approved, compensation for acquisition excludes any extra value created by the redevelopment proposals. I think that that is what he has in mind.