§ 4. Mr. Rankin
asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies how many roof top dwellers there were in Hong Kong at the latest convenient date.
§ Mr. Rankin
Is the hon. Gentleman aware that in 1956 when I was in Hong Kong the number of roof-top dwellers was 40,000. Is not that increase scandalous? Is the hon. Gentleman aware that the number has doubled in seven years instead of decreasing, as many of us expected? Is he further aware that one of the major caues in retarding housing development in Hong Kong is the absolutely fantastic price of land? Would not the hon. Gentleman try to get the Hong Kong Government to establish some fair system for the regulation of the price of land to help housing development in the island?
§ Mr. Fisher
I do not think that this is a scandal at all. One must remember 196 that the population of Hong Kong, in an extremely small area, amounts to over 3½ million. Over 1 million Chinese have entered the Colony since the war and more than ½ million have been re-housed in resettlement and low-cost housing estates paid for by the Hong Kong Government in that time. Present plans provide for the housing of 100,000 squatters a year. I think that this is a jolly good record.
§ Mr. Rankin
I am perfectly familiar with those figures and I pay respect to what has been done, but is the hon. Gentleman aware that what has been done bears no comparison with what ought to be done? May I ask the hon. Gentleman to look at this problem and at the fantastic prices imposed upon those who want to start public enterprise development in Hong Kong? Could not the hon. Gentleman think of introducing a fairer system?