§ 4.3 p.m.
§ Mr. James McInnes (Glasgow Central)
We are today considering the Civil Estimates in respect of the services connected with housing in Scotland. It can truly be said that Scotland has never been without a housing problem. The eighteenth century problem was created by the one-room rural cottage, with its mud and stone walls and turf-covered roof. The nineteenth century problem was an urban problem created by the tenement.
The tenemental system was Continental rather than British. I believe that Edinburgh and Stirling introduced it into this country when the primary function of those two towns was that of defence. It comprised tenements of three, four and five storeys with their one or two rooms and kitchen, with one water closet on each landing common to several tenements, involving probably 12 to 16 persons. The tenements thus became the standard type of Scottish working-class 605 house. Today, we know that the three-storey and four-storey tenements contain as many as 16 houses accommodating 70 to 90 people and that we still have, in 1963, tens of thousands of such tenemental houses.
Early this century, the awakening consciousness of the people to the inadequacies of their housing conditions eventually led to the appointment in 1911 of a Royal Commission. That Commission reported in 1917. I have quoted this Report before in a housing debate and I do not apologise for quoting it again. The Commission said:We found insufficient supplies of water, unsatisfactory provision of drainage, widespread absence of decent sanitary conveniences, the persistence of unspeakably filthy middens, whole townships unfit for human occupation, grass overcrowding everywhere, the huddling of the sexes together—clotted masses of shims in our great cities.The Commission concluded by saying that commercial enterprise had failed to keep pace with the demand for houses, that the State must accept the responsibility of meeting the housing needs of the people and that the obligation of carrying out the programme should be placed or imposed on the local authorities. As a result of that Report, the State in 1919 accepted the responsibility and arranged for the local authorities to carry out the programme that I have mentioned.
I have deliberately mentioned the Commission's Report for the simple reason that many of the conditions described therein still exist to the present day, forty-six years after the publication of the Report. Hon. Members will find these conditions in the Cowcaddens and Carlton areas of Glasgow, in Edinburgh, Dundee and Aberdeen and, indeed, throughout Scotland. We must recognise that more than one-quarter of our total stock of houses in Scotland are more than 100 years old. Is not that a shocking state of affairs?
I ask the Committee to consider the age groups of our existing stock of houses. We have in Scotland 471,000 houses that were built before 1860, 320,000—private enterprise houses the lot of them—built between 1860 and 1914 and 169,000 private enterprise houses built between 1915 and 1962, giving a total of 960,000 private enterprise houses 606 in Scotland. We have, of course, since 1919 built 660,000 local authority houses, thus giving us a total of 1,620,000 houses in Scotland.
The significant feature of these figures is that we have 471,000 houses that were built before 1860 and are, therefore, 100 years old. These houses are in the main the tenemental type of house and are nearly all owned by private landlords. These houses are rapidly decaying through lack of maintenance, despite the fact that in 1954 the Government introduced the Housing (Rents and Repairs) (Scotland) Act, which enabled landlords to increase their rents by 40 per cent. provided that they carried out repairs.
Unfortunately, the 40 per cent. was not sufficiently attractive to the Scottish landlord. In the Rent Act, 1957, the 40 per cent. was increased to 50 per cent.; there could be a 50 per cent. increase in rentals, provided that the landlord carried out the repair. Again, the landlords did not respond. What the landlords in Glasgow and elsewhere are doing is not to carry out the repairs but to abandon the whole of the property completely. These properties are naturally houses between 90 and over 100 years old. When the landlord abandons the property, the property invariably becomes dangerous.
When this happens, the local authorities, in the interests of the tenants who are still in the properties and in the interests of the public in general, have to step in and rehouse the families and then demolish the tenement at the expense of the local authority. Even private landlords will not demolish the properties that they abandon. So the local authorities are compelled to do the work.
I know and appreciate the issues that arise as to the future ownership of the vacant sites. That is a very complicated question. Indeed, it almost qualifies for a debate by itself. Therefore, I do not propose to deal with that aspect. What concerns me this afternoon—right hon. and hon. Members on both sides of the Committee will appreciate and agree—is that the failure of private landlordism to carry out repairs enormously intensifies our slum clearance problem in Scotland.
Perhaps we should examine now the extent of our slum problem in Scotland. 607 According to Cmnd. Paper 9685, published in February, 1956, Scotland had at that time 230,000 slum houses. I must point out, however, that when the Scottish Office was collating this information Glasgow and Edinburgh submitted provisional figures only. When the actual figures became available it was revealed that Scotland had about 300,000 slum houses as at 1956.
Is the Secretary of State satisfied with the rate at which these 300,000 slum houses are being demolished? I find, for example, from the Annual Report of the Scottish Development Department for 1962, page 33, that between January, 1956 and December, 1962—eight years—we demolished 91,749 slum houses. That gives us an average of 11,400 slum houses demolished each year. At this rate of progress it will take almost twenty years to demolish the 210,000 slum houses that still exist in Scotland today. This is a shocking state of affairs. It is indefensible that in what is almost the worst-housed country in Europe we are demolishing the slums only at the rate of 11,000 houses a year. We must also recognise that not only do we have the problem of slums; we also have throughout Scotland the problem of gross overcrowding.
Take, for example, the overcrowding problem confronting Glasgow. Glasgow has 208,000 privately owned and rented houses. It also has 121,000 municipally owned houses. No less than 124,000 of the 208,000 privately owned and rented houses—that is, 60 per cent. of all the privately rented houses in Glasgow—and one- and two-apartment houses and over 400,000 people live in them. Thirty-four thousand people live more than four persons to one room. Ninety-thousand people live more than three persons to one room. The majority of these houses have no hot water supply and no baths. Indeed, they have no internal conveniences of any kind. I ask hon. Members to think what this means to the people. I ask hon. Members to envisage the inconvenience, ill-health and misery which this over-crowding brings into their lives.
These conditions are not peculiar to Glasgow. They are to be found, perhaps to a lesser degree, throughout Scotland. I regard the small house as being 608 the curse of Scotland. Indeed, I am appalled when I realise that 70 per cent. of Scotland's municipal houses are three-apartment houses or less. In England and Wales, the comparable figure is 20 per cent. Why should the small house be imposed on Scotland? This Government have aggravated the situation by further reducing the size of council houses in Scotland. They reduced the size of council houses in Scotland from 941 sq. ft. in 1947 to 865 sq. ft. as from 1959. Thus, small-roomed houses were still further reduced in size.
In the knowledge of this background and recognising that we have a problem of tremendous magnitude, we are justified in asking ourselves, certainly in asking the Secretary of State for Scotland, what is being done to overcome this great social problem. In 1953, 39,548 houses were built. I think that I congratulated the Government at one of the meetings of the Scottish Grand Committee on achieving that figure. I almost feel like withdrawing the congratulations at this stage. Year by year since 1953 the numbers have dwindled. Last year we did not reach 39,548 houses. We reached a figure of 26,761 houses. Thus, between 1953 and 1962 the number of local authority houses built dropped by almost 50 per cent.
Is not the Secretary of State utterly ashamed of himself? In the knowledge of the background of the problem which I have described, surely it is a shocking record to produce so few houses. It is all the more so when we compare our performance with that of other European countries. West Germany built 10.1 houses per 1,000 of population. Indeed, last year West Germany built 542,000 houses. The population there is somewhat similar to that of Great Britain as a whole. Great Britain completed only 6.1 houses per 1,000 of population as against Western Germany's 10.1 houses per 1,000 of population.
If we take Sweden or Denmark—reasonably comparable with Scotland—we find that Sweden built 9.8 houses per 1,000 of the population, Denmark 6.9 houses per 1,000, and Scotland 5.3 houses per 1,000. We are absolutely at the bottom of the league in the whole of Europe in the provision of houses. The reason for this is that we are devoting 609 far too little of the national resources to house building.
I do not ask the Secretary of State to accept that merely as my opinion. I can give him examples of people who think likewise. Mr. John Greve, a lecturer at the London School of Economics, estimated that we required in Britain no fewer than 425,000 houses a year over the next twenty years. That would mean approximately 42,000 a year in Scotland. The Alliance Building Society, in its 1961 report entitled The Housing Land Crisis, said that the number of dwellings completed each year should average 400,000 in Britain, or approximately 40,000 in Scotland.
The hon. Member for Crosby (Mr. Graham Page), who, I believe, is Chairman of the Conservative Party Housing Committee, told the Conservative Party conference at Llandudno in October last year that during the next five years Great Britain will need 2½ million new houses. Five hundred thousand houses a year is the demand made by the hon. Member for Crosby, and I entirely agree with him.
It may well be that the Secretary of State will say that local authorities are free to build as many houses as they consider necessary. I hope that the right hon. Gentleman will not be so foolish asto say anything of the kind, because he must recognise that the greatest deterrent to local authorities building houses, not only in Scotland but in Britain as a whole, is the Government's policy of high interest rates. The intolerable burden which this policy imposes on local authorities makes it almost prohibitive for them to build houses. I give an example. I am quoting from a reply which the right hon. Gentleman gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Leek (Mr. Harold Davies).
The annual charge for a 60-year loan of £2,000 raised at the Public Works Loan Board's interest rates in 1950 was £72 1s. 6d. At the end of sixty years that loan will have cost the local authority £4,320. But at the interest rates which have to be paid today, it will cost the local authority at the end of sixty years no less than £7,140. So when a local authority sets out to build a house and borrows the money through the Public Works Loan Board, at the end of sixty 610 years that house has cost the local authority £7,140.
This is the burden which the local authorities have to face. The Government have failed to provide houses, but even on those which they do provide they impose on local authorities these financial provisions and strictures before they can qualify for subsidies.
During the last three years, we have had three Acts of Parliament, each containing a different financial formula to determine what subsidies local authorities will get in respect of their houses. I could go into details of these formulas in the 1962 Act and the Local Government (Financial Provisions) Scotland Act of the present year, but I shall not weary the Committee by doing so. I conclude by saying that in this modern age it is almost criminal that tens of thousands of our people should be condemned to live a lifetime in grossly overcrowded and squalid conditions.
Today, we talk in terms of our affluent society, but when we speak of housing we talk in terms of public squalor. The provision of a decent home is fundamental to the happiness of people. Without a decent home the framework of a happy life does not exist. A home in which to live is not only a basic human need, but a basic human right. To provide the homes that are necessary we must have a Government with a dynamicpolicy. It is obvious that the Government have no policy for the greatest social evil that confronts Scotland. I urge them to get out and make room for a party which has a policy.
§ 4.30 p.m.
§ The Under-Secretary of State for Scotland (Mr. Gilmour Leburn)
The hon. Member for Glasgow, Central (Mr. McInnes) has made the sort of speech we have come to expect from him; an interesting and clear speech in which at times he was critical. I make no complaint about that. I, too, welcome this opportunity to debate Scottish housing. This is an important matter and the present time is appropriate to take stock of the progress that has been made and to consider the future. The background to the present situation was given in a White Paper which was presented to Parliamentlast month by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State 611 and my right hon. Friend the Minister for Housing and Local Government.
I will begin by developing the subject of housing in Scotland and by indicating the way in which we are dealing with the problem. Notwithstanding what the hon. Member for Glasgow, Central said, there is no doubt that over the last ten years the housing situation in Scotland has greatly improved. In that time more than 300,000 more houses have been built, more than 90,000 slum houses have been demolished and more than 30,000 houses have been improved. There are still shortages in many areas, but the figures recently published suggest that the excess of households over houses in many areas is not very great.
On the other hand, I freely admit that we still have a vast problem of unfit and unsatisfactory houses which must be dealt with at a greater rate. While there is no doubt that we have this housing problem, it is changing in character and our policies and methods must be adapted to meet this change.
One of the important aspects of housing that has become clearer in recent years is that houses are needed not only for social improvement, but also as an essential element in promoting and sustaining economic development. This is most clearly seen in the new towns, where the existence of a continued and planned programme of housing development, covering a variety of standards and types of accommodation, has not only made possible the build-up of a balanced labour force but has also encouraged new industrial and commercial development to take place. The same process has been going on in some of the overspill receiving areas, where the atmosphere of expansion and enterprise created by the initiative of the receiving local authority has encouraged new industrial growth.
The need for this kind of housing, closely linked with industrial development, has called for great efforts from the local authorities adjacent to the new motor vehicle factories at Bathgate and Linwood. Both the authorities and the Scottish Special Housing Association are putting a great deal of effort in these areas to provide, in a comparatively short time, houses for the workers in a wide variety of skills who are needed to make 612 a success of this developing industry. But there is still some way to go. A large proportion of the employees are, of course, being drawn from Glasgow under overspill arrangements. So this housing development is providing both a firm base for the industrial development and making an important contribution to the relief of congestion and redevelopment in Glasgow.
Much smaller in number, but still important, are the houses provided for the workers with special skills whom these factories have had to bring from England and elsewhere. This question of houses for key workers is often of crucial importance to the growth of both new and existing industry, not only because it enables the firm to recruit the best key men on which the employment of many others depends, but also because the willingness or unwillingness of a local authority to help in this way can make or mar the impression made by a district on an industrialist who is giving consideration to the question of where and how he is going to expand.
§ Mr. Tam Dalyell (West Lothian)
Will the Under-Secretary accept from me that those of us who yesterday visited Linwood and Bathgate as the guests of the Society of Motor Manufacturers had it impressed on us that the provision of housing has been ludicrously inadequate? This was the opinion of men like Mr. Geoffrey Rootes and others, who believe that this burden should be borne by the central Government and that there is no other way out of the problem.
§ Mr. Leburn
I cannot accept that from the hon. Member in the exaggerated way he has put it. I would agree with him to the extent—
§ Mr. William Ross (Kilmarnock)
If the Under-Secretary cannot accept it, will he give us the figures?
§ Mr. Leburn
—that a great many houses have been built both by West Lothian County Council, Whitburn and Blackburn.
The hon. Member for West Lothian (Mr. Dalyell) knows as well as I do that it is extremely difficult to dovetail the exact number of houses into the exact number of workers required at any particular time. The programmes of these local authorities, both in the east and 613 west, are being so arranged that the requisite number of houses will be available. However, I recognise that it means that a certain number of workers may have to travel to work for a somewhat longer period than would be wholly desirable.
§ Mr. Leburn
I hope that hon. Members opposite will allow me to finish my remarks on this aspect.
Within a comparatively short time these requirements will be satisfied. I pay tribute, rather than being critical, to those local authorities which have done so much to provide houses for incoming workers. I know how difficult it is for an authority to provide houses for incomers, often seemingly at the expense of their own people. On reflection, I am sure that hon. Members will appreciate that this can play a vital part in attracting and sustaining new industrial development. I hope that those authorities which have been reluctant to help industry in this way will come to see the long-term advantages that it can bring them.
In addition to building houses in the right number and in the right places, it is important to have enough houses of the right kind. We all know that it is important for our future to attract and keep in Scotland a higher proportion of the scientists, engineers and technologists who we train. These are often people who are not looking for and, indeed, should not look for, a subsidised house. We must see that their needs are met. Some local authorities have undertaken this task and have built special schemes of houses for letting at cost rents, but it is not primarily their job.
The Government see this need being met in a number of ways, and the first is by encouraging expansion of private-enterprise-built houses for sale. This form of housing has increased substantially in recent years. In 1962, it was nearly 8,000 houses—the highest figure since 1937—but, as the White Paper indicates, the Government wish to see 614 owner-occupation grow still further, and this is particularly true for Scotland.
The abolition of Schedule A Income Tax for owner-occupiers will help. The building societies have a vital part to play. The White Paper refers to the talks that the Government have had with the Building Societies Association, and I am sure that the greater flexibility in the terms the societies can now offer—lower initial deposits and longer terms of repayment—will encourage this trend still further.
In addition to those who wish to own their own houses, there are many who would prefer to rent a house at an economic rent if one were available. For example, there are those who do not wish to settle permanently in a particular area. As a first step to meeting this demand, the Scottish Special Housing Association is to build houses to let at cost rents. These schemes will, at first, be small, but I am confident that they will show what can be done in this direction, and will encourage others to follow. The S.S.H.A. has been making a considerable contribution to Scottish housing, not only in its efforts in the erection of buildings, but, equally important, by the part it has been playing in putting into practice new ideas. The schemes I have just mentioned are a further example of the continuing contribution the Association can make. But these efforts must be supplemented.
§ Mr. Leburn
The hon. Gentleman knows that the S.S.H.A. has a great many houses under erection at the present time.
Hon. Members will recall that in the 1962 Housing Act, £3 million was set aside for lending to housing associations for building at cost rents and co-operative ownership. The reaction to this scheme has, I admit, been slow, but that does not mean that nothing has been happening. A great deal of preliminary work has been done, and the Housing Corporation visualised in the White Paper could give these associations a great deal of help to enable them to play an essential part in providing housing.
615 Important as these developments are—and I think that they are supremely important if we are to have a properly balanced growth in Scotland—the bulk of our new houses in the coming years must continue to be provided by local authorities. Thenumber of new houses completed by public authorities in 1962 was disappointing. In many areas, this was because of the change-over to redevelopment. For example, in Glasgow the difficulties of land acquisition and clearance reduced the rate of completions to just over 2,000.
In 1962, however, the number of houses started by public authorities—that is, the local authorities, the new towns and the S.S.H.A.—was 22,640, 20 per cent. higher than in 1961, and the number for which tenders were approved rose to over 27,000, 46 per cent. higher than in 1961. As a result, nearly 29,000 houses were under construction at the end of the year, as compared with 25,000 a year before, and this number had risen to over 31,000 at the end of the first quarter of1963, in spite of the very bad weather at the beginning of the year. I believe that even the hon. Member for Glasgow, Central will grant that this is a big move forward.
If this new impetus—
§ Mr. Leburn
That may be. On the other hand, we get very many representations that more houses should be built for the elderly, and I have heard criticisms that we were building only 3 per cent. of houses for elderly people.
I can tell the hon. Member that if this new impetus is to be sustained we must take advantage of new techniques in building, which I believe can do so much to speed up the production of houses. With this in mind, my right hon. Friend last year appointed a small working party of officials of the Scottish Development Department and local authorities to report on how to secure the best use of these techniques.
The working party's report, which was circulated to all local authorities in February of this year, indicated that while the new industrialised systems give 616 a much greater speed of direction they are, in the main, designed for multi-storey flats, which are likely to represent only about 10 per cent. of future Scottish housing. There is, therefore, need for the systems to be extended to other types of house building. If this is to take place—and it could bring considerable economies both in time and money—larger programmes of building than can be offered by most individual authorities are needed, and this means co-operation between authorities.
My right hon. Friend has asked authorities to give urgent consideration to these suggestions, and a series of meetings with authorities has taken place to discuss the prospects of greater co-operation, and the possibility of forming consortia of local authorities for this purpose. As a result of these meetings, one of which was sponsored by Glasgow Corporation—and I am very grateful to the Corporation for taking an initiative in this matter—the authorities are considering in detail what form of co-operation might suit their particular needs. The Department is now collating this material, and will shortly circulate it to those concerned. Groups of suitable authorities will then be brought together with a view to setting up consortia.
For this more rapid building it is essential to have enough land available and, therefore, as part of the quinquennial review of development plans, my right hon. Friend has asked local planning authorities to ensure that for the coming period they have allocated enough land for housing, including private housing development. This is also a point to which the most careful attention is given in the examination of development plans submitted for the Secretary of State's approval.
So far, I have been dealing with the building of new houses, but what about the stock of existing houses? In the first place, I agree with the hon. Member for Glasgow, Central that the removal of those that are unfit—the slum houses—must be one of our top priorities. The current three-year programme of local authorities provides for the closing or demolition of some 40,000 houses by the end of 1964. By March, 1963, they had dealt with 13,353 of these, and I am reasonably confident that they will 617 achieve their aim. This, however, will largely depend on the speed with which new houses can be built, and this is one of the strongest reasons for my regarding the plans for greater co-operation and for the use of new techniques to be of such vital importance.
In addition to the houses that must be pulled down, there are very many houses which, in their present condition, are unsatisfactory in one way or another. We must take more vigorous steps to deal with them, not only for the sake of their present occupants but because, if nothing is done to them, they will deteriorate into slums and be an obvious further burden on our building resources. In other words, they must be improved so that they can measure up to present-day standards. With the introduction of standard improvement grant in 1959 there was a useful increase in the number of houses being improved each year, but the annual rate is still only about 4,000.
I admit that this is not nearly enough in relation to the problem with which we are faced, and the Government are determined to see that it is substantially increased. The means of doing this are described in the White Paper. This is not the occasion to discuss what should or should not be included in new legislation, but I do not think that I would be out of order in mentioning some of the defects of the present state of affairs which we see and which I recognise and acknowledge.
First, too few private owners, and especially landlords, are taking advantage of the improvement grants at present on offer. Secondly, it is often impracticable to deal with individual houses in tenement blocks. The only practicable way of dealing with these, as I see it, is often to deal with a whole tenement as a unit, frequently in such a way that the total number of houses in the tenements may have to be reduced. Thirdly, it is not sufficient merely to bring a few separate units up to standard. The whole of an area needs to be modernised and tidied up—both the houses themselves and the surrounding amenities—if the work is to produce its maximum return.
Possible solutions to these and other aspects of the problem are put forward in the White Paper, with full regard to 618 Scottish conditions, but before legislation is introduced we must have full consultations and discussions with the local authorities and with the property owners. I am looking forward to a meeting tomorrow with representatives of the local authorities, and I hope to arrange a meeting with the property owners very shortly.
The cost of housing has an impact on all these proposals, and in the broader field it is an important element in local government finance generally and in the claims it makes on the country's investment resources. The cost to the individual must also be approached in a reasonable way, and here the Government have made their position on local authority houses crystal clear. No one in genuine need of a house should be asked to pay more rent than he can reasonably afford. Equally, subsidies should not be used to benefit those who can afford to pay an unreasonable rent—reasonable in relation to his economic circumstances and to the real cost of housing.
It is disingenuous, to say the least, to talk as if only a very few people living in local authority houses are capable of paying a reasonable rent. Over 30 per cent. of Scotland's population live in local authority houses, and, while rents have risen in recent years, the average weekly rent last November was still only 12s. 3d. This can be compared with the average weekly earnings of adult male manual workers in Scotland which, at October, was £14 14s. 3d. This means that the average weekly rent of local authority houses was a shade under 4 per cent. of the average weekly earnings. I would agree that averages can be misleading, but even so, I do not think that anyone could claim that 4 per cent. was an unreasonable contribution for rent to come out of the wage packet.
Some local authorities have gone a long way towards achieving a more reasonable and more realistic level of rents and I appreciate their efforts to secure a balance between the interests of their citizens—ratepayers generally as well as council tenants. Many authorities are not yet working on this basis. The assertion is often made that a more rapid move towards reasonable rents would inflict unjustifiable hardship, but this, I believe, deliberately ignores the fact that proper rent rebate schemes 619 can ensure that all those who are in genuine need of help can obtain it. The experience of the S.S.H.A. shows how, by this means, reasonable rents can be charged without causing hardship.
§ Mr. Harry Gourlay (Kirkcaldy Burghs)
The hon. Gentleman, on more than one occasion, has referred to reasonable rents, but so far has not stated what they are. As for the average wage in Scotland, there are many areas where £10 a week is the maximum, which is far less than the average.
§ Mr. Leburn
I admitted that averages could be misleading but, nevertheless, I thought that this painted the broad picture. The hon. Member knows that we have discussed reasonable rents on many occasions and my right hon. Friend has indicated to local authorities that as a good guide they can use G.A.V. Many hon. Members opposite were present when we discussed this on the Local Government (Financial Provisions) (Scotland) Act in Standing Committee, where I made it perfectly clear that this was only a guide and that on occasions I even foresaw circumstances where local authorities couldcharge more than this.
§ Mr. Leburn
I sometimes have the feeling that many of the Government's critics on rents secretly agree that the present unduly low level of Scottish rents threatens to undermine the stability of local government finance and to bear far too heavily on the ratepayers. No one expects to gain in popularity by increasing rents, especially in places where half or more of the houses are local authority houses, but local authorities have statutory duties and my right hon. Friend intends to fulfil his responsibility in seeing that these are discharged.
In a number of cases my right hon. Friend will be shortly asking some local authorities to look again at their position in this respect. I want to make it absolutely clear that there is no question here of my right hon. Friend wanting to impose rent schemes on local authorities. Housing lies at the centre of local government, and that is where we want it to remain.
§ Mr. Leburn
My right hon. Friend and I have been encouraged by the sensible approach to this long-standing problem of a good many local authorities and I hope that more will now make headway in the same direction. As I have already said, the cost of housing is a major element in the finance of both local and central governments and our subsidy system must always be kept up-to-date. In the White Paper my right hon. Friend made clear that he proposes to initiate discussions with the local authorities on the workings of the present subsidy system and to review with them the whole situation.
§ Miss Herbison
The hon. Gentleman has just said that housing is really the centre of local government and that the Secretary of State does not want to impose rents. Does that mean that we shall have a Bill presented to us tomorrow which will repeal the powers which the Secretary of State took to impose a rent scheme, with all the might of the Act?
§ Mr. Leburn
In a debate like this I am sure that the hon. Lady would not expect me to anticipate legislation, but if she is expecting a Bill to be proposed along those lines she will be disappointed.
§ Mr. Hector Hughes (Aberdeen, North)
The hon. Gentleman talks about consulting local authorities after the White Paper has been issued. Isnot that putting the cart before the horse? Would it not have been more logical and reasonable for the Government to have consulted the local authorities first and to have issued the White Paper as a result of their consultations?
§ Mr. Leburn
No, Sir. The White Paper clearly laid down the lines of principle which the Government wish to follow, but made equally clear that we wanted to discuss certain matters with them.
§ Mr. McInnes
The right hon. Gentleman cannot get away with that. The White Paper contains only two paragraphs referring to Scotland at all. There is nothing in it regarding Scotland except two small paragraphs. In which 621 of these two paragraphs are to be found the propositions which the hon. Gentleman is now outlining?
§ Mr. Leburn
The hon. Member for Glasgow, Central really surprises me because, of all hon. Members—I include hon. Members on both sides—he, I should have said, probably does his homework best. I recommend him to read the White Paper on Housing. There are far more than two paragraphs making reference to Scotland. I can assure the hon. Gentleman of that.
§ Mr. Leburn
I am very glad that the hon. Gentleman is not one who takes on a wager, because he would surely lose it on this occasion.
The total of 300,000 new houses during the past ten years is clear evidence of the Government's determination to press on with the improvement of Scotland's housing. The increases which have been made in the number of houses coming under construction, the forward plans of local authorities and new towns, the healthy growth of private enterprise building, and the development of a third arm of housing in the form of the new housing societies will all combine to make a target of at least 35,000 houses a year in Scotland attainable in the foreseeable future.
Such an increase is needed to match the problem, but in contemplating it we must take into account the capacity of the construction industry and the ever increasing demands made upon it. Today, we are concerned with housing, but new schools, new factories, new roads, new shops, new hospitals and the rest are all making increasing demands upon it. Increased efficiency and productivity in the building industry are, therefore, essential.
This increase in house building combined with a still stronger drive to remove unfit houses and improve unsatisfactory houses will ensure an overall improvement in the standard of housing accommodation to bring it into line with the general rise in the standard of living, and this is vital to both the economic growth and the social development of Scotland.
§ 5.3 p.m.
§ Mr. John Rankin (Glasgow, Govan)
I congratulate the Under-Secretary on his peroration. It lived up to many of those which we have heard in the past and might, indeed, be said to have been taken from one of his former speeches. The trouble is that, between his perorations, the stones, bricks and lime which are turned into houses do not match his words. The figures which we have in the Reports prove that.
The hon. Gentleman started by emphasising that housing is necessary for social improvement. With that we agree. He said, also, that it is a necessary adjunct, or, I think he said, precursor of economic development. I do not propose to argue that, but it is part and parcel of economic development, as our new towns emphasise. He went on to say that housing encouraged new industrial progress to take place. I should have hoped that the reverse was true also, that new industrial progress would encourage new housing.
When the hon. Gentleman made this last suggestion, I wondered whether he had ever thought of looking on Cumbernauld as a commuter town. I throw that suggestion out to him because of the intensity of Glasgow's housing problem, the nearness of Cumbernauld and the necessity to maintain certain forms of transport which, at the moment, seem to be under threat.
The hon. Gentleman emphasised that it was necessary to improve and extend housing because of key workers. I have never yet found that key workers had any difficulty in getting houses. If the hon. Gentleman takes that as a very substantial reason for getting away from what is the main fact in regard to housing, then I leave that soporific with him. It seemed to me that, throughout his whole speech, the hon. Gentleman sought to shed what is basically a national burden on to the local authorities. The local authorities arehaving difficulty in solving the housing problem in Scotland today because the Government are running away from their national obligations.
I shall illustrate what I say with figures from the place which I know best, the City of Glasgow. Glasgow's housing problem, of course, is unequalled in the whole of Europe. Having seen most of the great cities of Europe, I can confirm 623 that from actual observation. The overall weakness of the Under-Secretary's approach to the problem is that, in looking at the social and industrial aspects and the requirements of key workers, he ignores the sheer physical fact of gross under-housing in the City of Glasgow and other parts of Scotland and the need for a more sustained and intense effort to solve the problem.
Today, almost half the houses in the city have only one or two rooms, and over 400,000 persons living in them. In central Glasgow two-thirds of the houses are only one-room or two-room houses, and 34,000 people live more than four persons in a room.
I do not suggest that the Under-secretary of State and the Secretary of State have not important things to talk about, but their most important occupation at the moment is each to listen to what I am saying, not to what they are saying to one another.
Ninety thousand people live more than three persons to the room. In one district, 12,000 people live on 18 acres of land.
This is not a new problem. Those of us who represent Glasgow constituencies have been saying these things for a long time. But the fact that we can repeat these figures still is proof that the Government's building or encouragement of building of new houses does not keep pace even with the decay of existing houses. So their attempted solutions of this problem have resulted, in Glasgow in particular, in a state of affairs which shows practically no change over the eighteen years I have been a Member of the House of Commons.
It is because of these facts that today, when we meet to approve a sum of £17,920,000 net for housing purposes, as against £18,375,000 last year, so that we are being called upon to vote £455,000 less today than we voted last year for dealing with a problem which is still as acute as it was last year, I cannot approve, nor can my colleagues approve, of the sum we are asked to vote. Also we are met to vote £20,950,000 for equalisation and transitional grants as against £20,230,000 last year. Again, I oppose that because the increase is totally insufficient. The hon. Gentleman stated 624 that local authorities were getting into financial trouble, and so they are because of the policy of the Government.
I want to look quickly at some of the figures which I have taken from the Report of the Scottish Development Department. On page 27 the Report tells us that in 1960 28,592 houses were built by all agencies. That was an increase of 1,299 over the year before, and, of course, I welcome that. In 1961, with this need for houses pressing on the Government and on the communities, 27,230 houses were built, a reduction of 1,362, and in 1962 the number built was 26,761, a still further decrease of 469, making a decrease of 1,831 over the last two years. I look at the graph on page 28 and observe that local authority building which the hon. Gentleman said was the major form of building accounted for 14,000 houses in 1960 and over 16,200 in 1962 compared with about 30,000 houses built each year in 1953 and 1954 by local authorities.
That represents a very drastic fall indeed, but the most remarkable fact is that in 1949, four years after the termination of a world war, when the Labour Government were beset by difficulties on all hands—labour, supply, and money—we erected 21,000 houses as against the 16,000 which were built with Government aid last year. That isa deplorable record by this Government. I hope that when the Secretary of State replies to the debate he will be able to offer a modicum of defence for a figure of that nature. While this has been going on, Glasgow, eighteen years after the war, has still 80,000 persons on its waiting list.
In achieving what has been achieved according to the standards of the Under-secretary of State modern methods of building have been used, and, of course, I pay tribute to these newer methods. I see them in the area where I live. The Pollokshaws scheme seems to be rising a storey every night due to industrial pre-fabrication. I should point out, not only did Glasgow Corporation lead the way with that, but it also led the Ministry of Public Building and Works. The Corporation got no encouragement from Government sources in undertaking that method of building, and the Corporation was actually the forerunner; and paved the way for the support which the Government are now giving to it.
625 Then, of course, I have seen the new homes of the Scottish Special Housing Association in my movements about the country. I pay tribute to what they have been doing in introducing precast concrete, computers, better techniques and work during winter, as I observed during the past winter in transit between my home and Renfrew Airport. We on this side welcome these advances. All that we feel is lacking is sufficient enthusiastic encouragement to greater efforts from the Government.
Of course, we are not blind to the slum clearances that are taking place, and as I have gone about I have praised such developments as the disappearance of the miners' rows in places like Nitshill and Inchinnan. We welcome the desegregation that has been going on. But the slums in Govan still remain. Yet in Cmd. 2050 the Secretary of State tells us thatNo restriction is being placed on the number of houses which local authorities can build each year for housing families from unfit houses and the Government will continue to give every encouragement to stepping up the pace of slum clearance.The right hon. Gentleman says"no restriction". Well, I dispute that, and later I shall give my reasons for disputing those words"no restriction".
Again, we do not spurn the present subsidy of £16 million, but in view of the fact, which the hon. Gentleman admitted, that good housing is one of the most powerful secular influences in shaping the better world we all want to see—I hope—I still regard a £16 million subsidy in the circumstances of today as being totally insufficient.
I have been looking at the three main factors in the building of a house and it is with these I want briefly to deal; the labour employed, the materials and the land, and the money which must be supplied. I agree, of course, as we all must, that the price of labour and materials enters into the rent of a house, but it is worth noting that a 2 per cent. increase in labour costs adds only £10 to the cost of a £2,200 house, but on the other hand a 2 per cent. increase in the interest charge adds £2,204 to its price.
I take the £2,200 house at 5 per cent. interest. [Interruption.] I am not sure whether that was a joke or not. We 626 are dealing with the figure over sixty years. I understood that the right hon. Gentleman appreciates the terms of the loan; I take it that this is something with which he is completely familiar. I thought the right hon. Gentleman was laughing at the 5 per cent. interest figure as being a somewhat grotesque one. But I have worked out the average rate of interest paid by Glasgow Corporation between 1919 and 1962—over a period of forty-three years—and it is 4.79 per cent. In the light of the 6 or 6½ per cent. rate which we face today, that 5 per cent. figure is not unique.
At 5 per cent. interest, the £2,200 house costs £6,973 over sixty years, of which £4,773 is interest. At 3 per cent. it costs £4,769, of which £2,569 is interest. That shows a saving of £2,204, or, in terms of rent, 14s. 1½d. per week. If local authorities and others find that the rents are too dear—as many of them do; there is no argument about that—the Secretary of State has an easy way out, as I shall try to show later, in reducing rents if he wants to do it without seeking to inflate rates, as is happening.
Taking the high notional value which the right hon. Gentleman would put on this type of house as £54—the gross annual value is £48, but I am putting £6 more on the rent of the house than he suggests and if the subsidy were £32, there would still be a deficit of £41 to be met by the local authority. Therefore, the big problem that we have to face today in relation to housing is not the cost of labour or the cost of materials, but the cost of the money which is necessary to build the house.
In the midst of that, the Secretary of State tells us on page 36 of"The Finance of Housing":The level of Scottish local authority rents has risen only slowly and remains, on average, unreasonably low.We must realise that this year Glasgow Corporation will collect from the houses it owns £9 million in rents, rates and grants; and from that sum will pay £6 million to the moneylenders. That is the system which the right hon. Gentleman is advocating and is going to employ in order to solve the housing problem. It means putting on local authorities burdens which are almost insupportable.
627 All over the country—not merely in Glasgow—people are complaining because the housing revenue deficits are being put on the rates. In Glasgow, we are met by the question,"Is it fair to put a housing revenue deficit of £3 million on the rates?". It is sending the rates up by 3s. in the £. However, we are not discussing that today. I want to make it clear that I in no way dissent from the idea of a reasonable rent, but no one in Scotland says a word about the fact that from the same rates we are finding £6 million a year to give to the moneylenders. In fact, 6s. in the £ is placed on the rates to meet the demands of the moneylenders, and yet very little complaint is made about that fact. We must remember that there are two aspects—the amount supplied by the rates to meet the deficit on the housing revenue account, and the vaster amount taken to meet the demands of the moneylenders.
Quoting the right hon. Gentleman, I have said that he is urging local authorities to raise rents, and he has actually brought in legislation to compel them to do so. I ask him to think about this question and try to answer it for himself,"What policy is it that causes this pressure for increased rents?". The right hon. Gentleman is bleeding the tenants at the rent level in order to maintain a high interest rate at the national level. The defence which he will put forward, and which he may put forward today, is that he has got to do that because our country, through its position as the banker of the world, must maintain a high interest level policy in order to attract investments. The result is that we keep high interest rates to attract money from abroad because of what we claim to be out peculiar international position.
That reason is not true. If we take the general interest rate in Britain and compare it with the general interest rates over the last few years in America and Europe, we find that when our rate was an average of 6 per cent., that in Europe and America was 3 per cent., and when our rate was 5 per cent., in Europe and America is was 2½ per cent. We are being disadvantaged in our social policies because we are applying an international rate at the local level, which few other nations do.
628 When we were faced with the question of this policy and the cost of money a few months ago during the Committee stage of the Air Corporations Bill, we learned as a result of an Amendment which I moved that British European Airways and the British Overseas Airways Corporation are getting preferential rates of 4½ per cent. to meet capital commitments at a time when the Secretary of State for Scotland is imposing rates of 6 and 6¼ per cent. on our local authorities.
Last Friday, in the House, we decided to give preferential treatment to owner occupiers by the abolition of Schedule A. This means that the rest of the Income Tax payers will make up whatever deficiency may be created by the loss of the revenue from Schedule A. It also poses to the Secretary of State this question: if he can defend an Income Tax rebate for those who borrow money to pay for their houses, how can he deny a tax reduction to those who pay rent? If he faces up to the social implications of this part of the Government's monetary policy, then he will find a happier way out of some of his difficulties than he seems to have found up to now.
Cheap money should be a major aim in solving the housing problem and easing the financial burden of the local authorities. Let him remember that there is more than rent behind this. Yesterday, the right hon. Gentleman and I stood at the new tunnel at Linthouse, which was opened by the Queen. Earlier, he had heard the Lord Provost telling us of some of the other problems facing our great corporations today—not only tunnels, but roads, bridges and other needs. All these are serious and costly matters.
When I first raised the issue of the Linthouse Tunnel in the House, in 1951, the cost would have been £2½ million. Yesterday, the Lord Provost said that it will be £11 million. That is the sort of financial language that the local authorities are now being compelled to use, and they cannot go on doing that, and doing it efficiently, with the minimum of help from the Government and the maximum of interest for the money they must employ in doing what the Government say they should be doing.
I hope that the right hon. Gentleman will give serious thought to these issues. 629 It is far more important that local authorities should be able to bo361" rrow at lower rates for housing than that financiers should be able to borrow at high rates for speculation. That is what it boils down to. Millions of pounds are being made by the mere use—or, rather, abuse—of money. All this is helping to precipitate an inflationary situation under which individuals and local authorities are likewise suffering.
I urge the right hon. Gentleman that if he wants to see a real and effective attempt made to solve the terrible problem of mal-housing in Scotland, then he must get down to the root problem—the costwhich the need of money imposes on local authorities at the present time. If he tackles that problem earnestly and seriously, he will be doing something more effective for the solution of the housing problem than has so far been done by the Government.
§ 5.35 p.m.
§ Mr. John Henderson (Glasgow, Cathcart)
The hon. Member for Glasgow, Central (Mr. McInnes) took us back to the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. I remember that more than twenty years ago I heard him make that speech for the first time. Time and again he has referred to those times. I do not think any of us are very much interested in what took place then. Members of the Opposition are entitled to concentrate on what has been done by the Government during the years they have been in office and to inquire what future housing policy is to be. The hon. Member finished his peroration by stating that the Conservative and Unionist Party has no policy and asked, very pertinently, what my right hon. Friend is prepared to do about housing in Scotland.
A very good answer can be given. The Government have done a very good job. Since the war, 406,775 houses have been built in Scotland and one person in every three has moved into a new house built since then. It is worth relating that in the years 1952–60, under the Unionists, houses were built in Scotland at an average rate of about 30,000 a year compared with an average of about 19,000 a year under the Socialist Government. The best year under the Socialists was 1949, with 25,840 permanent houses built, but each year under the Unionists has seen that figure exceeded.
630 The hon. Member for Glasgow, Govan (Mr. Rankin), who has now left the Chamber, mentioned a reduction of houses built in 1962. In that year, fewer houses were completed by public agencies—the local authorities and the Scottish Special Housing Association—but private building was the highest since 1937. The reason for the reduced public output is a reflection of the difficulties encountered by some of the cities and large burghs in turning from relatively straightforward building to the more complex process of redeveloping central areas.
One can see at a glance that previously building has mainly taken place on the borders of cities or burghs where virgin land was used to a great extent. But when it comes to centre redevelopment there is a great deal of delay and many more expenses are encountered.
I come from Glasgow, a city in which I have been a social worker for a number of years. I am as alive as anyone to the grim conditions in which people have to live in the slums of that great city. The slums undoubtedly affect the health of the community and the conduct of young people and build up enormous difficulties for future family life. Slum clearance is an operation which has to be undertaken in three separate stages.
The first is the provision of new houses for the displaced slum dwellers. In Glasgow, two or three years ago, there was a large prison which was known as Duke Street Prison, near Glasgow Cathedral. The prison was pulled down and the corporation is now building a huge housing scheme on the site. I sometimes think that it would be desirable if sites such as that could be used for the building of some sort of hostel or other temporary accommodation to house people who have lost their homes as the result of slum clearance.
Four or five times during the weekend I pass through a district known as the Gorbals, very well represented by a distinguished hon. Member. Those were horrible slums, but a year ago they were demolished and new houses are being built on the site. I inquired from the Glasgow Housing Department where the people who had lived in those slums had gone, and I was told that they were living all over Glasgow, many of them in 631 my constituency. If there were a policy of accommodating them in a hostel or something akin to it while the site was cleared, when the new houses were completed they could go back to the areas in which they had lived and brought up their children and where they had their roots and where they wanted to stay.
§ Mr. James Bennett (Glasgow Bridgeton)
Is not the hon. Gentleman aware that Glasgow Corporation is carrying out that policy? I draw his attention to the fact that a Clydeside shipyard is building temporary houses which are placed on sites from which people have been transferred out of old properties which have subsequently been demolished. Glasgow Corporation is to be congratulated on already pursuing the policy which the hon. Member is enunciating.
§ Mr. Henderson
The Corporation must have heard me making this suggestion at a public meeting in Glasgow about eighteen months ago. Each stage of the redevelopment of small areas is dependent on the successful completion of the preceding stage, and this makes for a complicated and lengthy process.
Secondly, the Government intend to clear nearly all the remaining slums, and this means providing the displaced workers with jobs. The Minister of Housing announced the plan some months ago for broadening the basis of house building, and firms in shipbuilding and other heavy industries are to be asked to build houses which can be transferred to suitable sites and assembled there. There is a great possibility in this process for the future.
In the very heart of Glasgow there used to be a building known as the Lyric Theatre and the Y.M.C.A. On the opposite corner were the Empire Theatre and shops. Both those old established concerns have been taken over by a finance company in the last two or three years. Skyscraper offices will now occupy these very important sites. One building has been completed and the old buildings on the other site are in course of being demolished. Skyscrapers are now to be seen in many parts of Glasgow and they are common in London. There is nothing artistic about them, nothing pleasing to the eye, but 632 they are put up in a remarkably short time to provide office accommodation.
There is a shortage of building labour in Glasgow, as there is throughout the country, and some of the material and building labour used in this office building ought to be placed at the disposal of the corporation or the building companies for house building. The time has come when firms engaged in office building should have their activities curtailed so that house building can be increased.
I now come to the third stage. Many houses have been improved with the aid of Government grants, but the reconditioning of houses is a major problem. In Glasgow there are many good tenements which are externally sound but like slums internally. In the past few yearsthe Government have provided facilities for substantial grants for the improvement of these tenements which could fulfil a very useful purpose.
In 1901, 48 people per 1,000 population in Scotland were over 65. In 1931, the proportion was 73 per 1,000, and it is estimated that it will be well over 100 per 1,000 in 1974. I disagree with the hon. Member for Glasgow, Central, for I believe that there must be an increase in houses of one and two apartments for the ever increasing number of old folk. In Scotland20 per cent. of new local authority houses are now of one or two apartments compared with 3 per cent. in the first ten years after the war.
I turn now to the question of rents.
§ Mr. Henderson
It is a wonder, because many members of the hon. Gentleman's party do.
633 The low level of Scottish local authority rents has continued to be one of the main problems of the housing programme, and this has been underlined in the Toothill Report, which is often quoted by hon. Gentlemen opposite, which said:Low rents have not only failed to bring social justice but have done serious harm to the economy. With sensible rents it would be possible for local authority finances to be on a sound footing, to overcome the housing shortages which remain, to raise the low level of private enterprise building, to surmount the serious obstacles to mobility of labour to secure adequate expenditure on appearance and surroundings and to do all this while making better provision for the genuinely needy.
§ Mr. Henderson
I do not mind a reasonable interruption, but I think that is just sheer impertinence.
The Report considered that a higher level of rents throughout Scotland was essential to the health of the economy, and estimated that on average throughout Scotland a rent of 18s. a week would dispense with the need for any contribution from rates, and 15s. a week would require a contribution no greater than one-third of the Exchequer subsidies. As the general wage throughout Scotland is between £14 and £15 a week, I do not think that 14s. a week would be an unreasonable rent to charge.
This Government have faithfully kept their promise made in their manifesto at the last election to get rid of all slums. Their record is a good one. During the past ten years the promise to provide houses for the people of Scotland is being fulfilled, and the Government have now decided to embark on a future scheme to build 35,000 houses each year. They will maintain this figure, and they could well increase it, for Scotland's people have never had it so good.
§ 5.53 p.m.
§ Mr. Bruce Millan (Glasgow, Craigton)
The hon. Member for Glasgow, Cathcart (Mr. J. Henderson) started his speech by complaining that he had heard my hon. Friend the Member for Glasgow, Central (Mr. McInnes) making the same speech several times. I am not able to make the same criticism of the hon. Gentleman, because as far as I can 634 remember I have never before heard him make a speech.
§ Mr. J. Henderson
The hon. Member for Glasgow, Craigton (Mr. Millan) is just a youngster, and has not been here very long.
§ Mr. Millan
The hon. Gentleman need not be quite so sensitive about it. I was going on to say that although some of the things he said were no doubt interesting, he did not give me the impression that he really comprehends the seriousness of the housing situation in Scotland at the moment.
That is a perfectly legitimate criticism to make also of the Under-Secretary of State for Scotland. I know that it is common form to criticise the Government's contribution in this debate as thoroughly inadequate. The hon. Gentleman's contribution was not only thoroughly inadequate but was extremely depressing, because the Government have not faced the seriousness of Scotland's housing problem and, however one looks at the Scottish housing figures, the fact is that they are appallingly bad and have been getting worse over the last few years.
My hon. Friend the Member for Glasgow, Central quoted a number of figures which I was given in a Parliamentary answer from the Ministry of Housing and Local Government on Tuesday of this week, and the comparative figures for Scotland which I received on Wednesday of this week. If one makes these international comparisons on a population basis, one sees how badly Scotland is doing. In 1962 the Scottish Housing figure was 5.1 houses completed per thousand of the population. This was lower than the figure for England and Wales, and lower than the figure for France, West Germany, Austria, Italy, Holland, Norway, Denmark, Sweden and the Soviet Union. The figure was lower in only one European country of those given, and that was in Belgium, but according to a report by the European Economic Community's Commission on Housing there is no shortage of housing in Belgium at the moment. The only country with a building record similar to that of Scotland was East Germany. The figure there was also 5.1 houses per 1,000 of the population, so the Secretary of State for Scotland managed to 635 do at least as well as Herr Ulbricht. But even that did not apply in 1961, and as far as one can gather from the figures for 1963, it will not apply this year.
If we ignore what is happening in the rest of Europe and compare the position in Scotland with that in England and Wales we see that the figures for Scotland are worse than those for the other two countries. This development has come about in the last three or four years, because until 1958 we were building proportionately more houses than were being built in England and Wales. In 1958, for example, our figure was 6.3 as against the English and Welsh figure of 5.4. But since then there has been a steady and quite substantial deterioration in the Scottish position, until in 1962 we were building only 5.1 compared with 6.1 in England and Wales.
It is a truism, and it has been said time and again in this House and elsewhere, that the housing position in Scotland is much worse than it is in England and Wales. I do not believe that even a Scottish Office spokesman would deny that. Yet making the comparison between the position in Scotland and that in England and Wales, we are doing substantially worse than they are, and if one compares the position in England and Wales with what is happening in the other countries of Europe, the position even in England and Wales is also thoroughly unsatisfactory. I do not believe that, making any kind of qualification that one can about these figures, taking into account all the different factors about population, increases in population, population movements, the quality of the houses, the size of the houses, the effects of rebuilding everywhere, and so on, one can come to any conclusion other than that which I have mentioned, that the Scottish figures are appalling and that they have been getting worse over the last few years.
If one tries to estimate the amount of housing that we require to meet the present situation in Scotland, one comes to the conclusion that the figures which have been achieved over the last few years are thoroughly inadequate. If one does this calculation on a population basis, and if one takes into account the necessity for slum clearance, one comes to a total figure which is substantially 636 higher than the figure of about 27,000 houses achieved by the Government last year. We want about 40,000 houses per year as a minimum, but the figure could in fact be considerably higher.
My hon. Friend the Member for Glasgow, Central quoted figures of old houses in Scotland. About 550,000 houses in Scotland were built prior to 1880. All these houses, with the exception of a small minority, ought to be renewed now, and quite a number built after that date also need to be renewed, sometimes because they are slums, and sometimes because they are rapidly deteriorating into slums, but in any event because they are lacking in modern amenities. Yet the slum clearance programme in Scotland has been reduced over the past few years. The figures relating to houses closed as unfit have decreased between 1958 and 1962, as part of the general pattern of deterioration in the Scottish housing position. We have been clearing under 10,000 houses a year.
In what seemed to me to be an inexcusable attempt to mislead us, the Under-Secretary quoted a figure of 13,000 for a 15-months'period. But we are dealing with years. He gave the impression that he was quoting a year's figure within a three years' programme, but he was actually quoting a 15-months'figure. That was extremely misleading. The number has gone down to less than 10,000 a year, although we have 550,000 houses which are more than 83 years old and the vast majority of them require to be demolished. At the minimum, they require to be demolished over the next twenty years if we are to make any substantial improvement in the Scottish housing situation.
We have had a Government White Paper, which rather strangely includes Scotland together with England and Wales in the one document. In that White Paper we have a Government admission that the total number of houses being built in the United Kingdom is inadequate. What else is the Government White Paper but an admission that the numbers are inadequate? It is said that we must increase the number, because of slum clearance, to 350,000 houses a year, but there is no background information in the White Paper as to the way in which this figure was calculated. There is no statistical information—no 637 estimate of the need for slum clearance in statistical terms. There are no estimates of population movement, which is a tremendously important factor, and one that will become all the more important if we can stop the tremendous drain of population from Scotland by way of migration. There is no attempt to deal with any of these factors, and it is extremely difficult to see how the figure of 350,000 was arrived at, or whether it was calculated on a reasonable basis.
This document was accurately described by one of my hon. Friends on another occasion as being not a Government White Paper but the first part of the Government's election manifesto. Reading through it one gets the impression that there is the same duplicity, evasiveness and dishonesty that we have come to expect from Conservative Party manifestoes. The White Paper contained no information about Scotland, as distinct from England and Wales. The Under-Secretary brought out of the air this afternoon the figure of 35,000—but we built only 27,000 houses last year. If the Government plan to build 35,000 houses in Scotland in years to come one would have thought that this would be a sufficiently important fact to be mentioned in the White Paper, but it is not mentioned. It was brought out in the same dishonest way by the Under-secretary this afternoon—almost as an afterthought, in one of the closing passages of his speech.
If only the Government would admit that by any standards—international standards, by comparison with England and Wales, or by any estimate of what we require in the way of slum clearance in order to abolish overcrowding and the rest—Scotland's housing situation is terribly bad, we might have some confidence that the Government can successfully tackle the problem, but if we are to get this kind of complacent speech—"complacent"is an overworked adjective, but it is an apt one in relation to the speech we had this afternoon—and this kind of Government White Paper, we must give up all hope that the Government even appreciate the problem, much less than having any idea as to how it can be solved.
We must surely all agree that we need a substantial increase in the number of houses completed per year in Scotland. 638 What kind of houses should they be? We know that according to post-war tradition the vast majority of these houses should be local authority houses. The situation for years to come will be such that we cannot rely solely upon private enterprise. But I do not believe that the situation ought to be posed in terms of a choice between local authority housing on the one hand and private housing on the other. That is completely misreading the situation. There is no need to make this choice. Scotland needs more local authority housing and more private housing because the situation is so bad. We should not be trying to make this artificial choice.
Knowing the slums of Glasgow, and some other slums, if I thought that we could build more private houses in Scotland only at the expense of local authority houses I should be against any increase in the number of private houses, but I believe that the two things can proceed at the same time. The Government should be trying to press ahead on the two fronts at the same time. To say that one is in favour of more private housing is not to criticise the principle of subsidy, which is inherent in local authority housing. A substantial principle of subsidy is also inherent—from the taxation point of view—in owner-occupation at present, because of the relief on mortgage interest. But this is not the main argument in respect of the kind of housing needed.
What about rents? The Government have an obsession about rents, and I believe that some of my hon. Friends also have, although in a rather different way. In my view the subject of rent is a comparatively minor issue. There is no use disputing the fact that many Scottish local authorities have quite unjustifiable rent policies. To some extent there is a grain of truth in the Government assertion, but the idea that if we simply force local authorities to charge higher rents we shall go anywhere near to solving Scotland's housing problem is a ludicrous one. This approach by the Government is not relevant to the needs of the Scottish housing situation. If we agree that we should be building more houses of all kinds—private houses as well as local authority houses—and that the need is absolutely desperate, the next question we must ask is: are we capable 639 of doing it? What is holding Scotland back at present from obtaining the housing production that it undoubtedly needs, and that every observer agrees it needs?
Part of this is the old problem of economic expansion. Economically, Scotland has a much poorer record than the rest of the country—and that has been poor enough. That fact has an effect upon housing output in Scotland. If the Scottish economy could be made into a prosperous one we would increase the demand for houses and also our capability and incentive to produce more houses in Scotland. We should be able to overcome many of the difficulties relating to new towns, where, again, the Scottish record is quite appalling and does not stand comparison with the record of England and Wales. This general lack of economic prosperity is one of the major factors in the Scottish housing situation, and it is a factor which is all too often overlooked.
But there are other factors. My hon. Friends have mentioned some of them this afternoon. There is the factor of the interest rates, which affects not only local authority housing but building society mortgages, and therefore private housing. The greatest single step that the Government could take to encourage a greater rate of house-building in Scotland would be to do something about the existing high interest rates.
There is also the question of subsidies, and there is the problem of land. This is not a problem in Scotland, or at least it is not a large problem, as in England and Wales. For that reason the Government completely neglect it. Even the Minister of Housing and Local Government is beginning to admit that in England and Wales there is something of a land problem, particularly in the South-East and the Midlands. But I do not recollect that any Minister from the Scottish Office has admitted that a land problem is beginning to develop in Scotland. Already in Glasgow it is extremely difficult, and there are difficulties in a number of other places. But the problem is being completely neglected and, eventually, it will become as serious in Scotland as in some parts of England and Wales. Certainly it is inhibiting central development to a considerable extent.
640 Apart from all these factors—interest rates, subsidies and the rest—it is also true that there there is a widely spread wrong attitude—that is the best way in which I can describe it—to housing in Scotland. We compare badly in this respect even with England and Wales. In Scotland there are far too many people who do not have a sufficient desire for Scottish housing improvements, and insufficient pressure is applied to the Government to persuade them to get rid of this quite appalling social problem.
We see it manifested in all sorts of different ways. My hon. Friend the Member for Glasgow, Central referred this afternoon to the preponderance of three-apartment houses in Scotland and to the single apartment and two-apartment houses. One rather pathetic and depressing feature of the Scottish housing situation is that so many people prefer small houses. They asked that local authorities shall build small houses rather than larger houses. This seems to me to be something in the Scottish attitude towards housing which, unfortunately, does not help us to solve the Scottish housing problem. We find the same sort of attitude regarding the improvement of old type property. Here again the Scottish figures are much worse than for England and Wales. I am not exculpating the Government in any way, nor am I exculpating private builders.
Also in Scotland there is insufficient feeling of anger and frustration about the housing situation. The problem is so dreadful. One sees the slums which exist in some parts of Glasgow and in other parts of Scotland and the bad housing conditions and one becomes extremely angry, not only with the Government and with everyone else responsible, but also angry because we do not make a sufficient row about the Scottish housing situation. I do not believe there is anything to prevent us from solving Scotland's housing problems or that there is such a strain on the Scottish building industry, that it must be a drag on improving the Scottish housing figures.
The Under-Secretary of State again this afternoon—one gets tired of Government spokesmen doing it—talked about the number employed in the building industry as if somehow that number was static and could not be increased. But the number of people employed in the 641 building industry has been going up since 1959, according to the figures which I looked at this afternoon, and I have no doubt that the same pattern would be apparent regarding figures for earlier years. About 20,000 more people were being employed in the construction industry in Scotland at the end of 1962 compared with the number employed at the end of 1959. There is no reason why that figure should not increase substantially in the years to come. If the demand is there and the building industry is getting the orders and is sufficiently efficient to do the job quickly, the numbers employed in the industry will go up. That is common sense.
Some industries are increasing their labour force all the time while others reduce their labour force. That is part of the ordinary process of industrial life. Yet Government spokesmen talk about imposing an undue strain on the building industry. There are 94,000 people unemployed in Scotland, and there is no strain on the industry which could not be relieved if the Government treated the problem with a little more urgency.
Certainly there are shortages in some of the skilled trades. There is a shortage of architects, draughtsmen, technicians and the rest. We are now paying the penalty, in this as in other spheres of economic activity, for the neglect by the Government of scientific and technical education. But this is not something which we need to accept as a fact of life. The Government have it in their power to see that the numbers are increased if that is necessary, as I think it is. The Government have lately presented us with the idea of industrialised building, and it is an idea which I support. I hope that it will provide additional work for the shipyards, because, unfortunately, the shipbuilding industry has been very much in decline over the last few years.
This is only one channel of approach. If the building industry is inefficient and cannot cope with the demands made upon it; if there are too many small firms, or firms which do not possess the technical equipment necessary, or if there are too many restrictive practices indulged in, the Government might tell us about them and what are the problems. Let the Government say how the problems are to be tackled. If the Government told us that this kind of aproach 642 would be adopted it seems to me that results would follow.
When last did the Secretary of State for Scotland discuss the Scottish housing position with the Scottish building industry, never mind local authorities, building societies, private owners and the rest? When did we go over the problems of the Scottish building industry with the people who are actually building houses? There is no sign of the Government ever having done that. In every aspect of Scottish housing policy the record of the Government over the last two years has been one of miserable failure. It is not a question of statistics. There is a tremendous human problem involved which makes it all the more tragic that we have had such experiences over the last few years.
On other occasions the Secretary of State has come to us and said that if we have an unattractive Scotland, with bad housing and bad town planning and with drab environments, and the rest of it, we shall not be able to attract industries to Scotland. There is a certain amount of substance in that argument. But while the Secretary of State is saying that, the number of houses being built in Scotland is steadily going down. It has gone down by more than 10,000 between 1953 and 1962. This is a vicious circle. If we have bad housing it makes it difficult to attract new industry. If there is no new industry we cannot have economic prosperity which in turn is necessary for new housing. But in respect of housing the Government have the power to break through the vicious circle. It is not something regarding which they must depend exclusively on private enterprise.
One knows that the problems in Scotland are extremely difficult. It is not only the responsibility of the Government. There is a responsibility upon local authorities and upon us all. We have been too complacent for too long about the housing situation in Scotland. But the main responsibility rests on the Government and one does not gain the impression from previous speeches which have been made, from the content of the White Paper and the report on Scottish development, and particularly from the speech made today by the Under-secretary of State, that the Government have a proper conception of what are 643 the problems and how serious is the position.
It is not a question of the Government failing to provide the right answers. I do not believe that the Government have even asked the right questions about Scotland's housing position. I have absolutely no confidence that while the present Secretary of State and his colleagues are dealing with the situation we shall ever come anywhere near to getting a solution to Scotland's appalling difficulties in respect of housing.
§ 6.20 p.m.
§ Sir Colin Thornton-Kemsley(North Angus and Mearns)
A story is told of the late Mr. H. G. Wells, who was in America, following a speaker who had dilated at great length about the place in which he was speaking. It was Hollywood. H. G. Wells was called upon to make a speech. He rose in his place and said,"Hollywood leaves me speechless". If the speech of the hon. Member for Glasgow, Craigton (Mr. Millan) does not leave me actually speechless, it has left me very breathless, because he traversed so rapidly so many points that one is almost at a loss to know where to begin to pick up points in a debate such as this.
I take two points made by the hon. member. First, if I understood him rightly—this was strangely reminiscent of an attitude shown by members of his party in this House that"the gentleman in Whitehall knows best"—he almost deplored the fact that a number of people in Scotland actually dared to ask local authorities for small houses. The truth is that old people prefer small houses. They are easier to work. If they did not have small houses they would have to go to an eventide home or some such place. Today in Scotland 100 of every 1,000 persons are over 65 years of age. By 1974 there will be about 120 of every 1,000 over 65 years of age. It surely is a very good thing that local authorities in Scotland have recognised this fact and are providing for it.
§ Mr. Archie Manuel (Central Ayrshire)
I appreciate the point the hon. Member is making, but is not his contention completely wrong when we examine the statistics and find that a large proportion of local authority houses in every area 644 in Scotland are overcrowded? Some of them are grossly overcrowded.
§ Sir C. Thornton-Kemsley
I do not think that detracts from the need to build some proportion of small houses for old people. I welcome the fact that it is being done with the encouragement of my right hon. Friend.
§ Sir C. Thornton-Kemsley
I merely make the point that in recent years there has been very little provision for old people in response to the demand for two-apartment houses for them. Naturally when attention is called to that, it is right that local authorities should make a drive to increase the number of small houses for old people and I welcome the fact that they are doing so.
§ Mr. Millan
I am sorry to interrupt the hon. Member, but on this point I was not talking about special provision of housing for old people, which is an entirely different question. If one compares the number of three-apartment houses for the whole of Scotland with what local authorities do in England and Wales one sees that on the whole our houses are very much smaller. This is part of the Scottish tradition, a tradition which I deplore. In England they think it quite natural to have a spare room, but in Scotland if people have a spare room they think they should be moving to a smaller house, I was merely stating a fact.
§ Sir C. Thornton-Kemsley
The hon. Member has made the point and I accept it.
I take another point he made in his speech. He spoke about the steady deterioration in the scale of Scottish house building vis-à-visthat of England since 1958. While no one on this side of the Committee can be complacent about the Scottish housing position, I think we ought to recognise certain basic facts. One is that since 1958 there has been most extraordinary pressure on the whole of the south-east of England and on the west Midlands for more houses. There has been most unprecedented and unexpected industrial development there. 645 No doubt we shall be debating this question in the House on Monday of next week. It is a feature which hon. Members recognise, but it is one which is bound to reflect itself in statistics such as these.
§ Sir C. Thornton-Kemsley
No. The hon. Member made, I shall not say a long speech, but a full speech. It would not be fair to others for me to keep giving way to the same hon. Member.
The second factor which has given rise to that disparity in the rate of building north of the Border compared with south of the Border is that in England the bulk of the building is done by private enterprise. We should like to see a great deal mare of it done by private enterprise in Scotland.
§ Sir C. Thornton-Kemsley
I mean that in England it is done in another way. In England the bulk of building is done by private enterprise speculators who have not got purchasers for their houses when they buy the land. They buy the land and run up houses, some good and some not so good, and then sell them to people who, usually, are very ready to buy them. In Scotland most of the building is done by local authorities, by the Scottish Special Housing Association and so on for public authorities, and very little speculative building of that kind takes place.
The main reason for that is low rents for local authority houses in Scotland. I agree with the quotation made from the Toothill Report by my hon. Friend the Member for Glasgow, Cathcart (Mr. I. Henderson) that low rents have not only failed to bring social justice, but have done serious harm to our economy. I welcomed the speech made by the Under-Secretary in which he referred to low local authority rents, which are not only undermining local authority finances but are inflicting grave injustice on taxpayers.
I turn to another speech, that of the hon. Member for Glasgow, Govan (Mr. Rankin) and the point he made about the price of money. This point was also 646 referred to by the hon. Member for Craigton. I may be doing him an injustice, but he appeared to be supporting the plea made by the hon. Member for Govan. I hope I am not being unfair to the hon. Member for Govan in paraphrasing what he said in this way: local authorities are having to pay so much for the use of money that the prices of houses are enormously inflated. That, I think, was the burden of his speech. Therefore, he suggested, we have to tackle the problem of interest on borrowed money. That, superficially, is an attractive idea.
Clearly, if we could do anything to reduce the price of local authority building it would be worth going a long way to do it. But let us examine this, because in so far as it has been advanced as a serious argument twice this afternoon and on many occasions outside, we must recognise that if local authorities were able to borrow at artificially low rates for housing, then other demands would inevitably follow. I ask hon. Members to think of that. I can imagine that in the kind of debate which we had in Scottish Grand Committee this morning about Scottish education there would be demands for education authorities to borrow money at low rates.
§ Sir C. Thornton-Kemsley
I am making the point that other demands would follow. They would be made in respect of hospital building, roads and allother public purposes.
§ Sir C. Thornton-Kemsley
I will tell the hon. Member why not. I do not advance these points without giving an answer, and if he will wait I will tell him why, in my view, it would be wrong to do this. Changes in interest rates through the operation of the Bank Rate are one of the means by which the Government, or any Government in this country, keep our economy in balance and thereby help to combat inflation and to preserve employment.
§ Sir C. Thornton-Kemsley
Moreover, interest rates come down as well as go up. Local authorities are responsible for about one-fifth of the nation's capital 647 expenditure so that to exclude local authorities from any changes in interest rates would make nonsense of our monetary policy. I do not believe that any country organised as we are, with the balance which we have between local authority expenditure and other public expenditure, could possibly accept that as a feasible policy. Moreover, to allow local authorities to operate at an artificially low rate of interest would mean a concealed subsidy, which would be payable by the taxpayers.
I want to pass to a point which was made in an interruption by the hon. Member for West Lothian (Mr. Dalyell) during the speech of my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State. Many of us had the privilege of going yesterday to Bathgate to see the remarkable development which has been undertaken by B.M.C. and later to Linwood to see the Rootes' production of the new Imp car. As always, on these occasions, there was a session during which we were able to ask questions, and I put a question to the deputy managing director of B.M.C. about the provision of houses. I asked whether he had found that the Development Department and local authorities were helpful in the provision of houses and whether there had been any impediment in the firm's ability to expand and to employ the people they wanted to employ because of a failure to provide houses. The answer gave rise to considerable discussion, and I think that at the earliest possible opportunity the matter ought to be ventilated in the House so that an answer can be given or, if that is not possible, so that the matter may be investigated.
The background is the remarkable fact that this enormous factory, with a land area of 260 or 270 acres, started to be built on a swamp only three years ago. Anyone who goes there now will be astonished at the progress which has been made and immensely impressed by everything which has been done. I have not had an opportunity to check these particulars, but I think that they have had 650 houses for key workers and others provided in one way or another. I shall go into that in a moment. But they have an immediate need of an additional 240 houses, and it was upon that point that the hon. Member for West Lothian, who is the representative 648 of that area in the House, said that although there was a need for 240 houses, they had been promised only 10 in the current year. We were told that the West Lothian County Council was very helpful and that the Bathgate Town Council was perhaps rather less helpful, but that there was no reluctance to help on the part of the local authorities. But, in the words of the deputy managing director,"Something seems to have gone wrong."
I see from the Scottish Development Department Report for 1962 thatWest Lothian County Council undertook to provide 300 houses for Glasgow families in addition to building about 200 houses for workers recruited by the company from places other than Glasgow; and Whitburn Town Council, assisted by the Scottish Special Housing Association, undertook to accommodate 500 workers from Glasgow.That makes 1,000 houses. The Report says,By the end of the year 194 families had been housed in these two centres and 354 houses were under construction.I am not saying that local authorities have not done well. I dare say that according to their lights they have done as well as they can. We were pleased later when we went to Linwood to find that there was not the same complaint; although they had not all the houses they wanted they were not as unhappy about the position as are the B.M.C. people.
§ Sir C. Thornton-Kemsley
I wish the hon. Member would get out of the habit of making sedentary interjections and then I should be able to continue with my speech. He always anticipates what I am about to say, and I shall now say what he anticipated.
I do not know the extent to which the subsidies of £42 a year for 60 years in respect of an overspill house and £30 or £32 in respect of a house for incoming industrial workers makes it a paying proposition for local authorities. It may be that local authorities do not break even, at the rents which they are charging in supplying houses at that rate of subsidy for industrial workers. But what ought to be done—and it may well be that it is done, although I make it as a suggestion—is that when a great concern like B.M.C. goes to Bathgate, the Scottish Development Department 649 or my right hon. Friend should convene a conference of all those responsible for housing, possibly with the Under-Secretary of State, representing the Scottish Development Department, in the Chair, to ascertain exactly what is the need for houses and then to ascertain from each of the local authorities concerned what they can do, with the help of the existing subsidies, to meet that need.
For example, in this case West Lothian County Council might say that it would provide so many houses, Whit burn would provide so many and Bathgate would provide so many, and probably there would be a deficiency which could not be met by local authorities in the ordinary course of their housing construction, bearing in mind that they have other responsibilities as well as providing for a particular factory, however large that factory may be. There then comes a point at which the Scottish Special Housing Association should be brought in, as it was always intended to be and I suppose still is intended to be, primarily as a kind of commando force which undertakes a crash building programme. I should have thought that the Scottish Special Housing Association might come along and do the development which is required urgently if we are to do the right thing by these people on whose industries we set so much store in Scotland.
I may seem to be contradicting what I said earlier about especially low rates of interest, but there may be a case here, as the Government have a responsibility for providing the infrastructure for big industrial developments of this kind—roads, houses, public services, drainage, and so on—for the Treasury to grant an interest-free loan to the Scottish Special Housing Association so as to enable it to carry out this crash programme of development in places such as Bathgate and Linwood to help incoming industry. I would make it a condition that, leaving outside the interest charges, the other houses should be let at economic rents to the industrialists concerned who could make what arrangements they cared to with their workpeople. The Scottish Special Housing Association, having erected the houses, would let them at an economic rent.
§ Sir C. Thornton-Kemsley
I would not want to give a snap answer to that question. There is an enormous priority in Scotland now for getting the kind of industrial development which is represented by the B.M.C. at Bathgate and by Pressed Steel and Rootes at Linwood. It is so essential that we should have these points of growth that we should go a long way to make special arrangements in such cases. I do not know whether it should be extended later.
§ Mr. Dempsey
When speaking of building houses for industrial workers at economic rents the hon. Gentleman used the words"leaving outside interest charges". What does he mean by that phrase in the context of building houses for industrial workers at economic rents?
§ Sir C. Thornton-Kemsley
I think I can explain that. One of the items in the cost of housing development is interest on capital. If the Treasury were to advance the necessary capital to the Scottish Special Housing Association, or to whatever agency is chosen to carry out this crash programme for incoming industrialists, I think that the Treasury should do so without interest. Therefore, an interest charge would not form a feature of the economic cost of the house. Apart from that, the costs of materials and labour and construction costs would be added together and the firm concerned would be asked to pay an economic rent, leaving it to make whatever arrangement it wanted to with its employees who would occupy the houses as tenants.
§ Sir C. Thornton-Kemsley
It is rent representing a fair income on the capital expended on the building of the house. It may well be that this sort of thing is being done at present, but I put it forward for consideration in the hope that it will be examined closely.
I have spoken about a crash programme. When anyone talking about houses talks about a crash programme, 651 others inevitably begin to shudder and think,"My goodness, houses like boxes run up at any price, with speed the all-important thing and with no attention to design". In our last debate there was some criticism of the Report of the Scottish Development Department. I thought that that criticism was unjustified. That Report has much to do with housing and it therefore will not be out of order for me to say that it is a good Report—I hope I do not sound presumptious. I do not think it fair that the only mention of the Report should be the criticisms which were made last time. I have derived a great deal of pleasure from studying it and also a great deal of value. I like the way it is set out. It is factual and helpful.
I am disappointed that nowhere in the Report is there any mention that I can find about the importance of design of houses. Yet we are being asked in Scotland, even with the comparatively few houses we are erecting, to spoil Scotland with houses of bad or indifferent design. Good housing estates are few and far between. It is a great joy to see an estate where the houses have been well laid out, with little bits of green in front and with trees planted. Such estates are an attractive sight. This is of immense importance. I hope that my hon. Friend can assure us that his people are thinking about this. We want more rich men to make awards for good designs to young Scottish architects. This is being done. Let us encourage the young architect. Let us do all we can to get him to produce a house of good design. I would not say that I would rather have a few houses of good design than a mass of houses like boxes without any character. That would not be right, because we must have more houses. It is important that, in addition to having more houses, they should be well designed and attractive to look at.
I think that the Department has done well. I do not think that it is complacent. I am sure that none of us on this side is complacent. I hope that we shall press on to meet the enormous housing needs in Scotland.
§ 6.47 p.m.
§ Mr. James Dempsey (Coatbridge and Airdrie)
I have listened to most of the speeches which have been made today 652 and I am fascinated by the different approaches to housing development in Scotland which have been forthcoming. What intrigues me is that on the question of housing we are immediately involved in housing finance. Hon. Members opposite have argued that it is possible to build houses for certain key workers without interest charges; in other words, that some subsidy from some unknown source should be used to subsidise the industrialists. From time to time we are told in other debates that money must be found to subsidise farmers.
When we discuss financing these services we never hear any reference to means being taken into account before the subsidies can be given. This intrigues me. The Under-Secretary has made it abundantly clear that there is no subsidy for a tenant in Scotland who earns £15 or more a week. He goes further and says,"We accept the fact that everybody in Scotland has an average of £15, and in these circumstances we believe that a subsidy should not operate".
This is a contradiction in terms—a means test for council tenants, but no means test for industrial executives or for farmers. This clearly indicates that the Government are thinking in terms of class. They are motivated by class loyalties, class interests, and class felicitations. In Lanarkshire, particularly in Coatbridge and Airdrie which I represent, the bulk of council tenants do not have £15 a week. A very large proportion do not have £10 a week. It is absurd to talk about imposing certain rentals on a community on the basis of an average wage which statisticians have worked out when the people do not have such an average wage.
If we are to tackle this problem let us do it realistically and responsibly. I listened to the argument of the hon. Member for Glasgow, Cathcart (Mr. J. Henderson). He, like others, seemed to get inveigled into making comparisons between house production under one Government and another, when we know that that will in no way solve the housing crisis in Scotland. If the hon. Member had had some experience of housing administration, he would not have made such a stupid speech.
I think that my hon. Friend the Member for Glasgow, Central (Mr. McInnes) 653 and I are the only two hon. Members who have so far spoken who served on housing committees during the trying years immediately after the last war. Then we could not get timber for timber flooring. We had to be content with stone floors. Sweden could not export timber to this country because we could not export coal to Sweden. We had to go back to the archaic days of stone floors because of the export problem and the balance of payments problem. We tried, for example, for many years a simple gadget to cement steel window frames to timber window frames, to stop condensation running down the walls of houses, but we could not get any timber because of the export-import balance of payments problem. We were compelled to have steel window frames, which are bad condensers and cause continual deterioration in the standard of a house. I mention those two points to illustrate that it is nonsensical to try to make a comparison between the immediate post-war years and the 'fifties because there is no relative basis for such a comparison.
§ Mr. J. Bennett
I would draw attention to the fact that we still have stone floors, not because of the lack of timber but to keep out the many varieties of vermin that exist in some of the cesspits that are called housing areas.
§ Mr. Dempsey
My hon. Friend reinforces some of the views which I have expressed and mentions some of the experiences to which I want to refer subsequently.
The situation in Scotland is well known to us all. What surprises me is that in this debate we have had no illustration of the conditions under which decent people in Scotland are expected to live in a dignified fashion. I heard the Secretary of State for Scotland, and he was"woe-woeing" the fact that the public are no longer interested in local elections. He said that we could not get them to attend meetings. They did not come along to the polling stations to record their choice of candidate. The amount of apathy is indescribable. If he will come to Coatbridge I can give him the guarantee that I will pack the largest hall in Coatbridge on the subject of housing. The housing conditions there are beyond imagination in a town which is almost a suburb of Glasgow City.
654 A week last Sunday some of us met a packed audience of tenants complaining about the deplorable conditions under which they live; the almost indescribable conditions under which men, women and children do not live but only exist at the present time. There is no question of amenities. There are no facilities such as hot water. Baths do not exist in this part of the country. Indeed, in many cases they do not have the simple facility of toilets. They are using public toilets which are locked at 10 p.m., and what happens between then and 10 the next morning is nobody's business.
§ Mr. F. J. P. Lilley (Glasgow, Kelvingrove)
The hon. Gentleman is interested in the people who are living in slum houses, but is he also interested in the fact that the City of Glasgow is paying £3½ million insubsidies? There are in my constituency the same living conditions that he is talking about, and the council pays subsidies for corporation houses. Do they do the same in Coatbridge?
§ Mr. Dempsey
I am dealing with housing conditions, and I shall deal with the question of subsidies in due course. I think that the hon. Gentleman should first of all to get the ordinary decencies of life into our houses before he starts to wail about any financial imposition.
I was interested when the hon. Member opposite talked about how many slums have been demolished, but who built the slums?—the landlords. And who represented them?—the party opposite. They were the most undignified hovels that human beings could be expected to live in. We have these slums. Only recently I was compelled to make an arrangement whereby the males who lived in a property had to walk a quarter of a mile to use the public convenience, so that expectant mothers were able to use the toilets in a public building. That is the state of affairs that exists in Scotland today, and with which we should be dealing; not this"waffle-waffle" and supercilious attitude adopted by hon. Members opposite towards this vexed problem of housing.
In answer to a Question which I tabled the Minister said that there were 71,784 single apartments—we call them in Scotland"single ends"—occupied by 655 families of between two and ten people. This is a statement of fact on housing conditions in Scotland. He said that there were 361,433 two-apartment houses in Scotland, occupied by families, many of which had no facilities. Later he added that there were 416,167 houses where all the families shared toilet facilities. Here we have the real tragedy of Scottish housing revealed in stark-naked terms. What do the Government propose to do about this situation? What are their intentions? When we look at their record of achievement it is surprising. I am concerned with the fact that the local authorities build houses for those who need them most in the community, and allocate them on the basis of regulations laid down for that purpose. The local authority rate of house completion over the past few years speaks for itself. According to the housing summary issued by the Secretary of State it reveals, for example, that in 1957 we were completing 24,239 houses a year. But by 1962 that number had gone down to 16,245. Last year we were completing two-thirds of the number being built in 1957. Instead of this we should have been increasing the number of houses built because of the desperate needs of Scotland.
I am concerned at the lack of sincerity on the part of the Government to get ahead with the housing drive. This concern is bound to arise when this sort of thing happens in Coatbridge. The local authority decided to acquire a site called Blairhill. While the council was in the process of acquiring it certain objections were lodged. The local authority held a public inquiry at a cost to public funds, which lasted for three days and the Secretary of State sent his own commissioner to the town to preside over it. In due course the commissioner recommended that the land should be given to the town council for municipal housing purposes.
The Secretary of State—and I am referring to the present right hon. Gentleman'spredecessor—rejected the quasi-judicial findings of his commissioner and handed over the land to private enterprise for speculative house building. The only reason for the right hon. Gentleman deciding to do that must have been the strong connections between the firm in question and the Scottish 656 Tory Party, for the managing director of the firm is a leading light in that party. This example clearly shows how loyalties are devoted to the Tory Party and not to the people of Coat bridge, who are badly in need of houses. Examples like this have been given time and again in the House."Party before nation" is the attitude of hon. Members opposite, and it is to be regretted.
My hon. Friend the Member for Glasgow, Bridgeton (Mr. J. Bennett) referred to vermin control. Scarcely a month goes by in which I do not receive at my public advice bureau in my constituency a jam jar containing snails cockroaches or other insects which have been breeding in someone's home. This is added reason why the Government should take courage and get down to the task of treating house building as a military operation.
We have listened to all sorts of arguments, excuses and attempts by hon. Members opposite to justify Government policy on housing, but at the root of the matter lies the high rate of interest, for which the Government must be held responsible. Until they slash interest rates the difficulties confronting local authorities will continue to increase. Cheap money should be made available, because this is the only way to rid Britain of the evils of bad and inadequate housing.
What beats me is why, since the banks pay such a low rate of interest, equally low rates should not be charged to those borrowing money for municipal house building. The trouble is that the will is not there and the Government have forgotten the motto,"Where there's a will there's a way". I hope that the Secretary of State will increase the Scottish house building drive and will accompany that increase with an aptitude for flexibility. He should bear in mind particularly the housing schemes and estates of the poorer local authorities.
I urge the right hon. Gentleman to have more flexibility, because it is relatively easy, when going through almost any area, to point to council estates as distinct from private developments. I have travelled the length and breadth of Lanarkshire, Glasgow and elsewhere and I have been able to see at a glance which are council houses and which are not.
657 The hallmark of the Scottish Development Department is there. Why cannot we have more flexibility in the design of council houses?
If I were an architect the very last organisation I would join would be the local authority service. Due to financial restrictions and Government interference the style, inclination and interest of the young architect is muzzled from its infancy in the architect's department of a local atuhority. I urge the Secretary of State to allow local authorities to make it possible for enterprising architects to use imaginative designs. Need we always have brick and cement frontages? Why cannot we have stone frontages with long, terraced blocks interspersed with nice three-or four-apartment cottage type houses?
I have listened to the arguments adduced by hon. Members opposite about the money spent in subsidising council tenants. Are they not aware that the owner-occupied bungalows and other residences are subsidised by council tenants? Unfortunately council tenants have no voice of their own. I am not demanding that they should have. I am merely pointing out that they cannot frequently say,"We are also contributing in rates". I could give examples of owner-occupiers with three or four children at school and municipal tenants with no children. In such cases the municipal tenants are paying the education rate for the area. People who live in municipal houses must pay the necessary rates to cover the fire brigade, police force and other services which serve both owner-occupier and council tenant alike.
§ Mr. J. A. Stodart (Edinburgh, West)
The hon. Member has spoken of his travels through Lanarkshire, Glasgow and elsewhere. Has he ever gone further afield, into the Highlands, and seen the council houses that have been built there; houses which offer almost everything he desires to see in corporation houses in his area? If he travels further afield he will see attractive, individual, grey-slated houses which more than match up to the description of the buildings he wants to see.
§ Mr. Dempsey
If that is so it proves that Tory hon. Members and their areas are getting preferential treatment. The 658 hon. Gentleman's remarks certainly do not apply in the west of Scotland. If he comes to the premier county of Lanarkshire I will show him the sort of houses I have been discussing.
§ Mr. Dempsey
I am always guided by that great Scottish patriot William Wallace, who came from Lanarkshire—the premier county. I understand that Lanarkshire, as an authority, is second only in size to Glasgow. Because of its agricultural and industrial combination it would seem convenient to describe it as the premier county. However, in doing so I do not wish to be offensive to any other county in Scotland. Whatever may be said on this score, why should the Government not do something for all Scottish local authorities? It is difficult for anyone to speak at a public meeting at Coatbridge or Airdrie and try to justify the low measure of house building. This is especially so when we have a first-class house prefabricating factory standing partly idle in the area. In what is one of the most consistently high unemployment areas in Scotland we have a factory that is not being used to its full capacity.
The time has come for the Secretary of State to come down from national level to local level. Why does he not meet these local authorities on a country basis? Why does he not spend a day during the Summer Recess in Lanarkshire, meeting members of the county and town councils? They would show him an up-to-date factory that could manufacture houses, if only he would give the word. That can be done if he is willing to bend his energies to utilise all the services available to double and treble the output of houses.
I have been reading the Conservative Party's policy statement—
§ Mr. Dempsey
I am a very tolerant democrat—and in Lanarkshire a democrat is usually described as a person who is fair but biased.
I looked at the Tory Party policy, because we all know that there is an election impending. I cannot understand 659 why the Tories cannot build these houses when they are in power. Why should they wait until there has been a General Election? If there was the will, we could build many more houses than are now being built, but the will is not in the present Government.
There are nearly 10,000 unemployed people in Lanarkshire, and, excluding the winter, we had several hundred building craftsmen registering at the labour exchanges. If hon. Members doubt that statement, let them refer to the reply given by the Minister of Labour to a Parliamentary Question I put to him. The labour is there, and there are factories equipped to produce two or three times the number of houses at present being built. It is a paradox, if ever there was one—the labour and the equipment are there, yet people have to live in such intolerable housing conditions. The means are there, but they are not being used to provide the houses so badly needed.
It is time the Secretary of State spoke to the Government. He should roll up his sleeves at the next Cabinet meeting, and tell his colleagues quite frankly,"Scotland must have a proper share of the kitty. We must build houses there, and attract jobs there, and ensure that this bogy of bad housing is laid once and for all." That can be done only by a dynamic approach to the problem. That is why, as a broad-minded democrat, I hope that it will be done after the next election, when we have a Labour Government.
§ 7.13 p.m.
§ Sir John Gilmour (Fife, East)
The hon. Member for Coatbridge and Airdrie (Mr. Dempsey) would be deluding his constituents if he let them think that it would be easy to build at two or three times the present rate. That is not so. For the last two or three years we have been fluctuating between 26,000 and 28,000 houses a year—
§ Sir J. Gilmour
That may be true, but when the Scottish Grand Committee recently debated education we were told that although new schools were wanted there was a shortage of the people needed to build them.
660 The White Paper set a national target of 350,000 houses, and my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary today mentioned 35,000 houses for Scotland. That is a good practical increase on the present building rate, but we would delude ourselves if we thought that we could suddenly jump to something better. On the other hand, I find it difficult to believe that over a period of years we should be satisfied that that is the best we can attain. When, in the past, we have considered all the clearance of old property that is necessary, the increase in the number of families, longer life, and so on, the tendency has always been to underestimate the difficulties we face. For instance, we thought that the school bulge would pass, but as circumstances have changed we have found that the numbers have tended to grow.
The figure mentioned as the immediate target may be possible and practicable, but it will not be easy of attainment. Only two weeks ago, when my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State was talking about retraining people for the building industry, an hon. Member opposite said that it had not yet been possible to reach agreement with the trade unions to enable extra labour to come into building.
I recently made inquiries in my own county of Fife to discover in regard to the school building programme what the unemployment figures were. I was told that 813 workers in the construction industry were then unemployed, but that only 62, including 12 electricians, were skilled, and that there were 21 skilled vacancies outstanding. That meant that in Fife there was a net pool of only about 40 skilled people. At the same time, we have an enormous power station to build, with all the ancillary works.
I therefore repeat that we would be deluding both ourselves and our constituents if we thought that we could suddenly jump from the present 27,000 to 30,000 houses to about 35,000 houses. Nevertheless, we should not be prepared to rest at 35,000, because from what several hon. Members have said today there is an obvious need for the target to be increased to between 40,000 and 42,000. I hope, therefore, that when my right hon. Friend is going into the commitments outlined in paragraphs 19 and 20 of the White Paper he will, while realising that we cannot overload the 661 building machine, make certain that because of Scotland's particular needs our share of the 350,000 houses should not be a static but an increasing one. That is particularly so because of our need to stop the drift to the South that we have experienced in the past. The congestion down here reinforces the argument that, from a national point of view, the money would be better spent on better distribution of population than on piling people practically on top of each other in one place.
Some hon. Members tend to underestimate the life of a house. I have heard people say that once a house is 60 year, old it is finished and done with. I must here declare an interest because, as the owner of houses, I have drawn grants from the Fife County Council to improve a number of houses. I still have one or two more to improve, for which I hope to draw the appropriate grant—[An Hon. Member:"No means test."] No, but if I had not done that work, an enormous extra burden would have been thrown on the Exchequer. I have paid at least two-thirds of the cost out of my own resources, and have thereby saved the taxpayers a great deal of money that they would otherwise have had to find.
The hon. Member for Coatbridge and Airdrie will find in paragraphs 55and 56 of the White Paper very adventurous provisions for so improving existing houses as to prolong their life for the next ten or fifteen years while other houses are being built. I welcome those provisions, and hope that good use will be made of them, but it will need whole-hearted co-operation amongst private individuals and local authorities.
The other thing which I think my right hon. Friend will probably have difficulty in achieving and which will require a special effort is the provision outlined in paragraph 35 for housing societies and for getting houses built for technicians and people like those in my constituency where new staff is required at the St. Andrews University. This is a new venture for Scotland which will require a special measure of publicity and drive if it is to achieve success.
The Committee has touched on many aspects of the housing problem, but basically it is one of marshalling our resources and allocating the right priorities to them. It is easy to argue that there are too many 662 office buildings, but if we do not have a thriving economy we cannot have the money with which to build the houses. Basically it is houses that make the type and character of the people who do the jobs. Therefore, when my right hon. Friend allocates money to different things we have the right to ask that housing should have one of the highest priorities.
It is easy to be carried away and to say what can be done and has been done by way of building factories, but basically it is homes that build the character of the people. I ask my right hon. Friend in the months that lie ahead to ensure that in the implementation of a housing policy, which has in it a great deal of what is needed to be done, housing really will take first place in these priorities.
§ 7.22 p.m.
§ Mr. James Bennett (Glasgow, Bridgeton)
I am grateful for the opportunity of making a few comments in the debate, though I confess that the longer the debate goes on the more difficult it becomes to add anything new, other than to touch on experience in one's own area. It is recognised by all hon. Members that Scottish Members approach this problem with a sense of great frustration. This applies to Scottish Members in general and to Glasgow Members in particular.
I have listened to my hon. Friends building up a strong indictment against the efforts of the Government in the past to meet the slum problem. I know full well that hon. Member opposite have built an equally imposing case and have thought out equally imposing figures to indicate how well they have tackled the job. I represent an industrial area, and I say without any boast or pride that it has some of the worst housing conditions in Glasgow. Statistics do not mean a damn in the face of the problem which exists in that area, and the statistics which we have been given as this evening has progressed are cold comfort to those who are living in overcrowded conditions or are homeless.
We must recognise that slums are not a diminishing but a growing problem in Glasgow. Houses which were habitable a year ago are now slums. My hon. Friend the Member for Glasgow, Central (Mr. McInnes) gave figures indicating the present position. I have been reading a speech which I made in November, 1961. It is a quite edifying 663 experience to read one's own speeches. Either the HANSARD reporters should have the credit for doing a good job on that occasion or I was much better than I thought I was.
The striking feature of that speech was that I quoted certain figures, yet in March of this year, according to figures obtained from the City Factor's Department in Glasgow, there is now hardly any difference in approach from what it was in 1961. This would almost indicate that nothing happened between 1961 and 1963. In fact, 5,000 houses were either closed or demolished during that period. Yet the figures for houses in a slum condition in 1961 still apply in 1963. We are, therefore, not even keeping pace with the slum problem in the programme outlined in the White Paper. The rate of decay far outpaces the present rate of building.
On Tuesday of this week we debated in the Scottish Grand Committee the 1962 Report on Health and Welfare Services in Scotland. There is one small paragraph in that report which attracted no comment. It was never mentioned or questioned. I have tremendous admiration for the skill of whoever wrote that paragraph. Headed"Dysentery", it reads:No outstanding success can be recorded in the attempts to control this most prevalent of acute infections. If anything, the situation…has become slightly worse."No outstanding success" is a beautiful play on words. It means, of course,"utter failure must be recorded".
This failure arises from the atrocious conditions in certain areas of Glasgow. The fact that there has not been an even greater incidence of dysentery is not due to any effort on the part of the Government to keep it down. It is due to the tremendous attempts made by local authorities to provide such amenities as they can.
I well remember a debate on the Scottish housing Act which laid down certain conditions under which houses must be classified as unfit and action taken. If one were cynical enough one would smile at that provision in the Act. I can say quite sincerely that not merely one of these conditions but all of them exist in all of the houses in my area.
664 The White Paper states that no restriction is being placed on the number of houses which local authorities can build each year for families in unfit houses. Of course, the Government are not placing any restrictions, but the medical services of the local authorities simply cannot and will not close houses which are unfit for human habitation, because there is no other accommodation available. We therefore passively acquiesce in the continuation of a slum because of some failure somewhere to provide other accommodation to which people can be moved away from such conditions.
The longer we tolerate these conditions the longer will the remarks which I made in 1961 continue to apply. I said then that conditions which existed not merely in Glasgow but in the other major cities of Scotland were a standing reproach to ourselves and an affront to decency. The only addition I would make to that remark today is that the reproach and the affront are even greater today.
Even if we can prove to ourselves statistically that much has been done, if we can only face the fact that the slums are worse and can find some method by which land can be made more easily available to local authorities on which they can build, then possibly some day we shall make some real progress in clearing slumdom. But I see nothing in the White Paper or in legislation up to date which will lessen the slum problem. It is a simple matter to condemn the Government for their lack of action, but it is no satisfaction to do that if at the end of the day we cannot make some contribution which will result in an improvement.
We must look at the problem with a greater sense of reality. I confess that many debates in this place, even the one today, seem to take place in an atmosphere of unreality. One has the impression that they have become an academic exercise. One feels that the theme running through them is,"Anything you can do, I can do better". Let us never forget that, at the end of it all, there are a great many of our people living in conditions which are completely subnormal. They live there because we allow them to do so. They live there because we have neither the wit nor the enthusiasm to do anything about it.
665 We are prepared to pay lip-service to ideas for great improvements, and, God knows, we have been doing it for many years, but, just so long as we continue to pay lip-service only, we accept the squalor and the atrocious conditions in which people have to live. This is our responsibility, and the sooner we face it as a House of Commons and as a Government, the greater will be the chance of survival for the people about whom we are supposed to be concerned.
§ 7.31 p.m.
§ Mr. J. A. Stodart (Edinburgh, West)
I hope that the hon. Member for Glasgow, Bridgeton (Mr. J. Bennett) will believe me when I tell him that his words will again read splendidly in HANSARD. I congratulate him on his speech. I venture to make only one comment, that I hope that he will never be the victim of having his words in the House recorded and broadcast, because one's voice always sounds absolutely terrible when listened to. The words read excellently, but they sound quite ghastly.
During the debate there has been a fair amount of emphasis on the financing of the housing programme, and this is not surprising. It was referred to by my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State in his speech, and it formed almost the culminating subject of the White Paper, paragraphs 73 to 75 of which, if I may paraphrase them, said that we must face the cost of housing and that the householder must be prepared, where he is able to do so, to meet the cost of his house.
It is fair to say that hon. Members opposite have on frequent occasions said that they do not support a policy of low rents. I well remember the hon. Member for Hamilton (Mr. T. Fraser) making a speech to that effect at a public meeting in the west of Scotland. I looked up what I thought was a very good speech made by the hon. Member for Glasgow, Central (Mr. McInnes) in Committee in 1961 when he used almost exactly similar words. It is not unfair to say, however, that hon. Members opposite have never shown themselves particularly enthusiastic about getting the rents up when we have debated the subject here.
§ Mr. Stodart
The hon. Member for Glasgow, Central shakes his head with some vehemence. Perhaps he agrees with the objective of having reasonable rents rather than low rents but he does not like the method of achieving it. This may be so, but he is on record, with others of his hon. Friends, as saying that he does not approve of a low rent policy.
I say bluntly that rents in Scotland are low by two standards. The first standard is this. Taking real values, rents are a long way below what was paid in 1938. In 1938 a resident in a local authority house in Aberdeen was paying 6s. 4d. a week. This is equivalent to 18s. 11d. today. The actual average rent in Aberdeen today is 10s. 11d. In Edinburgh, the average rent in 1938was 6s. 8d. This is equivalent to 19s. 11d. today, allowing for the change in the value of money. The actual average in Edinburgh at present is 14s. 3d.
The second standard by which I judge the low level of rents follows automatically from the first. I refer to the proportion of income paid out in rent. This has dropped sharply from 7.2 per cent. in 1938 to 3.3 per cent. today. There are, I know, disagreements about exactly what average earnings in Scotland are. The figure is difficult to get at. But, even allowing for this, it is safe to conclude that there is about a 50 per cent. difference between the pre-war proportion of income paid in rent and the present one.
In passing, on the subject of what is a fair proportion, it is worth noting that the local authority for the district in which this Palace stands, the Council of the City of Westminster, expects tenants under its council house scheme to pay 14 per cent. of their income in rent. I merely mention that in passing, and I go on to say that if 7 per cent. is a fair proportion one can draw certain conclusions from the present level of earnings in Scotland. Certain figures have been agreed by hon. Members opposite as possibly correct. The hon. Member for Paisley (Mr. J. Robertson) said that he thought that the figure was about £12. Seven per cent. of £12 would be 16s. 8d. Therefore, even holding the situation as it was previously, there is sound reason for saying that rents ought to rise.
667 It is, however, no use talking in averages.
§ Mr. Stodart
I ask the hon. Gentleman to be patient. I know that he tries his best, though without much apparent success.
§ Mr. Stodart
The hon. Member for Edinburgh, East may be glad to know that we are perpetually being patient with him.
This is the question we must face. How can one discriminate fairly between tenants who can afford to pay more and those who cannot? I put on record, not for the first time, that I have absolutely no desire to inflict higher rents on those who cannot afford to pay. But I am anxious that those who earn substantially more should pay more rent or have the alternative of moving out into a house which is not subsidised out of public funds.
§ Mr. Stodart
I notice the hon. Member for Fife, West (Mr. W. Hamilton) moving in on this, but I am certain that I should go far out of order if I were to do more than say that he knows perfectly well that farming subsidies are quite different. They are there, as the hon. Gentleman found out for himself the other day, to keep down the price of food. I well remember the passage of arms that we had in which he admitted that if they disappeared, the cost of food would go up.
We must get this matter into as true a perspective as we can. I do not set much store by the headline stories which now and again appear about council houses being something like a Millionaires' Row, people dying and leaving £260,000 after having lived in a council house all their life. This happens—obviously, if the Daily Express says it happens, it must happen—but it hits the headlines to such an extent that, clearly, it is a most unusual occurrence. Consequently, in trying to find an answer to this problem, we should not overplay that aspect.
668 On the other hand, it is unfair that a household into which, let us say for the sake of argument, £20 a week plus is coming—and that requires only three or possibly even two earners in the household—should pay the same rent as a household which has an income of only single figures. It is worth while asking ourselves seriously whether it is possible to achieve equity in this field. It seems to me that there is certainly the possibility of having either a rents rebate scheme or a differential rents scheme run by a local authority, but I have two objections to this sort of thing. One is the difficulty of achieving equity.
Perhaps I might quote as an example the rents rebate scheme run by the City of Edinburgh. It is admirable in intention, but I do not think it operates fairly. It adds 5s. a week in respect of every additional wage earner within the household drawing more than £4 a week. That means that one man who may be earning £22 a week pays less rent than a man earning £10 who has a son and a daughter each earning £5 a week, thus bringing into the household £20 a week altogether. Consequently, I do not think it is an equitable scheme.
As to the second thing about these schemes which I do not like, I myself have the strongest objection to disclosing details of my income other than to the Inland Revenue. I absolutely sympathise with anyone who takes exception to filling in details of his personal and private income over the counter at the council chamber. The only people who could operate with real equity a system of rents tied to income would be the Inland Revenue.
§ Mr. Willis
I am very interested in this argument about having rent rebates or differential rates based on the income of the householder. But the person who is buying a house is also very heavily subsidised through the tax reliefs which he gets on his mortgage. Is the hon. Gentleman prepared to apply the same principle to those people, who are, by and large, rather better off than council house tenants?
§ Mr. Stodart
It is difficult to try to give completely off-the-cuff answers in the middle of an argument. I accept that this is a serious matter, and I do not 669 think that serious matters should be answered glibly and without thought or consideraiton.
§ Mr. Willis
In so far as tax relief is given, the bigger the house that one buys and the bigger the mortgage, the bigger is the subsidy.
§ Mr. Stodart
Perhaps I might now try to get back to my chain of argument, which has been almost completely destroyed. I was saying that the only people who could operate the scheme in such a way that it would achieve equity and confidence would be the Inland Revenue. However much we dislike the Edinburgh eighth district or the Kirkcaldy second district, or wherever the hon. Gentleman pays his Income Tax, if he does, I think I can say that we find the Inland Revenue fair to deal with.
I wonder very much whether my hon. Friend remembers an article which appeared in the Scotsman in February last year giving ideas for tying up the rents of local authority houses with Pay-as-you-earn. The broad idea was that the Inland Revenue, through employers, should collect rents and pass them on to local authorities twice a year or so. Everybody in a local authority house would be re-coded, and the scheme would be operated as the pay-as-you-earn scheme is. The only business which persons occupying local authority houses would require to do at the city chambers would be to write on a form their Income Tax reference number and those of all other members of their family who were earning. They would merely fill in, say,"Mr. John Smith, reference No. A/1234/XY". It would then be intimated to the Inland Revenue that that individual was in a local authority house, and the Inland Revenue would do the rest.
§ Mr. Bence
I am very interested in the proposal to link this with the Inland Revenue and pay-as-you-earn taxation. Would the hon. Gentleman agree to the application to the rents scheme of the method now employed by the Inland Revenue whereby if a man paying P.A.Y.E. loses his job in December and is unemployed until 5th April, he gradually gets a rebate of the Income Tax which has been deducted from his earlier earnings?
§ Mr. Stodart
I do not want to weary the Committee with the details of this scheme. If the hon. Gentleman is interested, he can easily obtain particulars about it. The idea has the backing of, among others, a lecturer in social and economic research at Glasgow University. I believe that this is no more revolutionary an idea than P.A.Y.E. appeared to be when it was first suggested. I am certain that numerous people said"This cannot be done. It is an absurd idea". I have no doubt whatever that the Treasury, with its traditional reluctance, said that such a scheme would be impossible. Nevertheless, I ask my hon. Friend to look at the papers, which I shall be delighted to send him. A considerable amount of correspondence ensued about this, and certainly no insuperable objections were advanced.
I have two minor points to put in conclusion. First, does my right hon. Friend think that the value of improvement grants is sufficiently appreciated in doing up old derelict properties? A grant is an enormous advantage not only to the person who collects it but to the local authority itself. One example I know well is that of an old and completely derelict house whose owner paid £5 in rates. There was no water, electricity or any other amenity. The local authority made an improvement grant of £400, and when the job was done, 18 months later, the rates became £60—and that was before revaluation took place. That was a very good investment for the local authority and it will quickly get its £400 back.
I think that we have our sense of values wrong. For instance, it is absurd that one can get a 33⅓ per cent. grant to put up a farm building to house cows and pigs but that there is no grant available, other than through the hill sheep scheme—which is to come to an end anyway—for cottages for farm workers. Either the farm improvements scheme for cattle units and pig houses should be abolished, which would be a tragedy, or farm cottages should be brought in under the scheme for these improvement grants.
§ 7.51 p.m.
§ Mr. Harry Gourlay (Kirkcaldy Burghs)
I do not propose to follow the hon. Member for Edinburgh, West (Mr. Stodart) in a detailed examination of 671 rent rebate schemes. However, I have read something about the idea of relating rent to P.A.Y.E. There are quite a number of objections, however, because to some extent a local authority has to be able to ascertain in advance exactly what its income is likely to be over the following year.
It seems rather odd in some ways to hear the hon. Member, who is a farmer, indicating that the public purse should be protected by municipal tenants paying higher rents, because no evidence has been adduced that affluent farmers refuse to dip into the public purse themselves. The hon. Member did what most hon. Members opposite do when discussing this subject. He dealt with only part of the housing liability of a tenant. He made no mention of the rate liability. Surely, when one rents a house one pays not only the rent but the weekly portion of rates, and both should be taken into account as the proportion of average weekly earnings spent on the house.
§ Mr. Stodart
I do not agree, for that is confusing the issue. The hon. Member is adding something which has no part in the housing costs. The rates keep services like the police, street cleaning and education going. To include the rates as he does is concealing the true cost of housing.
§ Mr. Gourlay
The hon. Gentleman does not understand local government finance sufficiently to appreciate that a very large part of the rate-borne expenditure covers local authority subsidies to housing and also the loan charges. Thus, the total amount of money a tenant pays in rent and rates is the figure which should be related to his total outlay.
We are often told that the municipal tenant in Scotland pays a much lower rent than his opposite number in England But, on comparing a tenant's outlay in England with the outlay of a tenant in Scotland, we find that there is not nearly as big a difference between the two as hon. Members opposite try to indicate. The hon. Member quoted figures about higher pre-war rents. If we compare pre-war and post-war rents and rates, however, we find that the tenant is now paying a substantially higher proportion of his wages on rent and rates than he was pre-war.
672 The hon. Member tried to sustain the Government's building programme by saying that they had to consider the various aspects of the building industry. He said that we could not overload the industry. But surely if the Government stopped the proliferation of petrol stations and many other unnecessary buildings we could build not only more houses but more schools and hospitals.
§ Sir J. Gilmour
The hon. Gentleman entirely underestimates the problem. Refusing to build a few petrol stations will not make enough difference. In my county, where there is to be a new power station and new schools, unless we get industrial retraining and a largely increased labour force we have no hope of success.
§ Mr. Gourlay
But it is not only petrol stations that are concerned. Many other types of building are quite unnecessary and they all have a big effect on the building industry.
§ Mr. Gourlay
I have already given way to the hon. Gentleman.
Other hon. Members opposite have indicated that the record of the Labour Government after the war is ample justification for the record of the present Government from 1951 onwards. But one should compare like with like. No one could justly suggest that the conditions obtaining immediately after the worst world war could be compared with conditions between 1951 and 1963.
§ Mr. Gourlay
I am sorry. I have given way enough already.
This afternoon we heard from the Under-Secretary of State his usual words. But we did not hear from him about more houses. The records his Department has issued over the years have indicated a reduction in the annual number of houses provided. He said that higher rents would be one way of solving the problem of housing. This parrot cry we heard from the right hon. Member for Renfrew, West (Mr. Maclay) when he was Secretary of State. There is no evidence that those local authorities with high rents, such as Edinburgh and Dumfries-shire, are able to build more houses than other authorities.
673 Not long ago, when the Government were justifying the Rent Act, which enabled landlords in certain circumstances to raise rents to practically any level they wished without any difficulty, Lord Hill and the present Home Secretary said that the housing problem in the country was solved. Now the present Minister of Housing and Local Government, in association with the Secretary of State for Scotland, presents us with a White Paper indicating that the Government have suddenly realised that there is, after all, a housing problem. They seem to have made a discovery, and in this White Paper we are told that they are to step up the programme, but we are not told how.
As some of my hon. Friends have said, this savours of approaching an election period. In answer to a Question about houses by my hon. Friend the Member for Glasgow, Craigton (Mr. Millan), the former Secretary of State said:…the number required to provide for population increases and increases in the number of households may be about 125,000. For replacement of existing houses about 175,000 may be needed, making a total of about 300,000 houses over the ten-year period."—[Official Report, 28th February, 1962; Vol. 654. c. 145.]That is an average of 30,000 houses a year. Today, the Under-Secretary said that the Government intended to build 35,000 houses a year, and that is another sign of approaching a General Election.
The Government's housing performance has been miserable. Page 4 of the Housing Return, Scotland, 31st March, 1963, shows that the highest rate of building in Scotland since 1945 was in 1957, when local authority, Scottish Special Housing Association and privately built houses totalled 32,437. That figure has come down over the years, and in 1962 it fell to 26,761. But closer examination of the figures shows that the number of houses built by local authorities and the S.S.H.A. to rent was 28,924 in the first of those two years and only 18,977 in the latter year. In other words, at a time when more houses than ever have been needed, 10,000 fewer have been available to rent. That is the miserable record of the present Tory Government.
Incidentally, this has been at a time when most other European countries have been building more houses per head 674 of the population than we have in Scotland. My hon. Friend the Member for Glasgow, Central (Mr. McInnes) said that in West Germany about 10.1 houses per 1,000 of the population were being built. It may be said that necessity was the major reason and that the bombing and devastation of Western Germany were the driving forces behind that high rate. But Sweden was not involved in war and the Swedes have been building at 9.8 houses per 1,000 of the population. Despite the urgent necessity with slum clearance and overcrowding, apart from the high marriage rate, in Scotland we have been building only at the rate of 5.3 houses per 1,000 population.
Interrupting the Under-Secretary, my hon. Friend the Member for West Lothian (Mr. Dalyell) said that there was some dissatisfaction in the Bathgate area by B.M.C. about the provision of new houses for that industry. The Under-secretary said that he did not accept the statement. But that statement was made in the presence not only of my hon. Friend the Member for West Lothian, but of Members from both sides of the House, including myself. I can assure the hon. Member that there is that dissatisfaction about the number of houses provided in that area.
§ Mr. Dalyell
Would my hon. Friend confirm that, if there is a fault, it does not rest with the West Lothian County Council, which has been tearing out its proverbial hair to try to provide these houses?
§ Mr. Gourlay
I agree. I am not apportioning blame to the West Lothian County Council. I understand that one authority, which may have a political colour different from West Lothian's, may be involved in the responsibility for the small number of houses being provided in the area.
§ Mr. Stodart
As one who heard those words, too, may I ask the hon. Gentleman to confirm that the deputy chairman of B.M.C. was scrupulous to point out that he did not know and could not say where the fault lay?
§ Mr. Gourlay
I am not suggesting that he did. He was merely indicating the problem. As public representatives—and some of us are members of local authorities as well—we know where the fault 675 lies. I do not entirely blame Bathgate Town Council. I blame the Government, because if they were in earnest about improving the Scottish economic position by encouraging industrialists to come to Scotland, they would give additional financial assistance to authorities in areas faced with additional building programmes, apart from the necessary programmes required for their own people. I ask the Secretary of State to have a much closer look at the problem, which, we hope, will arise in many other parts of Scotland in the not too distant future—if it does not, there is little hope of salvation for the 90,000 unemployed in Scotland.
The Under-Secretary went on to talk about building techniques. In paragraph 47 of the White Paper we are told that a special effort has been made to increase housing output by encouraging co-operation among housing authorities and by the use of new building techniques. Paragraph 48 says that the Government will seek to secure a still faster way to progress in subsequent years. While I agree that new building techniques are needed, their lack is not the fundamental reason why we still have a housing shortage in Scotland. The fundamental reason is the lack of finance provided by the Government to assist local authorities to build houses. Although many Ministers have repeatedly denied the charge, we still repeat it, because it cannot be refuted.
Some smaller authorities could be helped in ways other than improving building techniques. Some have development areas which they are anxious to clear and rebuild. For that they require some form of temporary housing for those who have to move from properties to be demolished and who are to return to the area later. Some authorities have applied for subsidies for these temporary houses. Burntisland is a case in point, but the right hon. Gentleman refused to give subsidy assistance or other help to Burntisland, which was particularly keen to speed up redevelopment of the town centre.
When the Housing (Scotland) Act, 1962, was introduced, with the new subsidy structure, the then Under-Secretary said that the real purpose of the new subsidies was not to save money for the Government, but to maintain the normal 676 increase in the total amount of annual subsidies. Yesterday, I received a reply from the Secretary of State showing the total amount of subsidy paid in each year since 1958–59. We find that in the year 1959–60 there was an increase of £558,000 in the total amount of subsidy paid to Scottish local authorities. In the following year, 1960–61, the increase was £518,000. In 1961–62 the increase was £649,000. Then we come to the first year in which the 1962 Act was in operation. In 1962–63 the increase in the subsidy paid dropped to £306,000. Thus the point that we made in Committee when the Bill was going through the House, that the real intention behind the new subsidy structure was to save the Government money, has been borne out by the figures which the hon. Gentleman's Department issued only yesterday.
Another answer which I received from the Secretary of State yesterday in reply to my question about the number of local authority houses which were in receipt of the various new rates of subsidy causes me to return to the point that the real intention of the Government was to save money, even though this was denied by the Ministers of the day. The figures show that 435 houses built by local authorities are in receipt of the £12 subsidy, which is £12 lower than the subsidy paid prior to the 1962 Act. Only 260 houses are in receipt of the £32 subsidy, which is £8 more than was paid prior to the 1962 Act. A simple arithmetical calculation shows that over the 60-year period of the subsidy on these houses the Government will make a net saving of £188,400.
What interests me more than anything else is the fact that when the Bill was going through the House both the Secretary of State for Scotland and the Under-secretary, both in the House and in Committee, stressed the fact that the subsidy structure was being based on a method of assessing the needs and financial resources of the authorities, and that the authorities in the rural areas would receive a higher rate of subsidy, perhaps even as high as £56, but in the answer that I received not a single Scottish authority is shown to be in receipt of the higher rate of £56, which again illustrates the point that the Government introduced the new subsidy structure with a view to saving themselves money.
677 On the question of rents, the hon. Gentleman said that the average wage in Scotland was about £15 a week. I do not know where the figure came from. It might have come from some digest of statistics, but it is certainly not related to the position obtaining in my constituency and in many others in Scotland. In fact, within a week 750 of my constituents in the linoleum industry will be without a job. Over the years these men have earned nothing like £15 a week. Their basic wage is about £9 10s., and yet the hon. Gentleman says that we should have increased rents for municipal houses.
The hon. Gentleman instanced that the average rent represented only 4 per cent. of wages earned. They may be 4 per cent. of £15, but if one takes the average rent in Kirkcaldy, one finds that it is a very much higher percentage of the normal wage which people receive in the linoleum industry, the coal industry, or in any of the ancilliary industries in the district. The Government have consistently refused to state what they consider to be a reasonable rent. They always shelter behind the assessors who have been appointed in various parts of Scotland to assess the value of various properties.
The hon. Gentleman suggested this afternoon that the gross annual value of a local authority house should be regarded as a reasonable rent. In fact, he went further and said that it should be the gross annual value, or more. He was careful not to say less, and on this point perhaps I might quote some of the g.a.v. figures for Scottish local authority houses. Starting with the highest, in Dunfermline it is £55 per year. In Kirkcaldy it is £54. We then come down to some that are £47, some that are £44, and then to quite a number below the £40 mark. How does one get away with describing g.a.v. as a reasonable rent? Is £39 a year rent in Inverness a reasonable rent while one has to pay £54 in Kirkcaldy? Why the tremendous difference? The hon. Gentleman ought to come into the open and say specifically that it ought to be a percentage of the wage, or a specific figure, and not hide behind the assessors of Scotland who are charged with the duty of assessing the value of houses, and some of whom are not doing a very good job.
§ Mr. Gourlay
In Fife for one, and the county assessor knows it well enough. He knows my views on the subject.
The hon. Gentleman went on to say that no one expects to gain popularity by increasing rents. This, of course, is true. But I do not think that any local councillors expect to gain popularity by increasing rates either. It is not true to say that members of local authorities deliberately suppress rents to gain popularity. This seems to be a popularly-held view among hon. Gentlemen opposite, but I do not think that it is one which reasonable and understanding people share.
I think that most local authority representatives fairly face their responsibilities, only they consider the interpretation of those responsibilities in different ways. Some of them find it very difficult indeed to increase the cost of housing to the municipal tenant when they realise that millions of £s are taken from municipal tenants and ratepayers throughout Scotland every year to pay tribute money because of the exceptionally high interest rates which are being charged.
The hon. Gentleman talked about subsidies and said that the Government's purpose in providing the increased subsidy of £32 and £56 was to help those local authorities in need of it. But in 1946 the overall subsidy for local authority houses was £26, and I am sure that if we relate £26 at that time to present-day values we shall find that both the £12 subsidy and the £32 subsidy fall far below the amount of Exchequer money which the Labour Government thought fit to give to local authorities to enable them to provide much-needed houses in Scotland.
I was interested to see the housing return issued in March of this year, because I find that two boroughs in my constituency, Kinghorn and Burnt-island, have no houses under construction, yet I know from my mail that there are a number of people in those areas who are desperately in need of houses. It is not that there is no know-how in that part of the country, even before we come to the question of new 679 building techniques. The major reason why these two boroughs are not building houses is the inadequate subsidy which is being paid, and I hope that the Government will do something very soon—even before the election if they think that this will get them more votes—to increase the subsidies paid to local authorities.
In Kinghorn there are houses under construction by private speculative builders for sale. Some of these houses have been standing empty for six to nine months despite the fact that people in the area are desperately in need of a house. In dealing with the problem of housing hon. Members opposite have said that if only we would increase the rents of municipal houses in Scotland we would solve the problem. To believethat a higher rent structure would be the salvation of Scotland's housing problem is to live in a world of fantasy.
§ 8.20 p.m.
§ Mr. Forbes Hendry (Aberdeenshire, West)
I hope that the hon. Member for Kirkcaldy Burghs (Mr. Gourlay) will forgive me if I do not follow his arithmetical arguments. Enough has been said about rents. I want to take him up on the point he made about the number of houses being built in different places. It seems to me that his own burgh of Kirkcaldy has not done too badly. Mention hasbeen made of a figure of 10½ houses per 1,000 population in Germany, and on my calculations the burgh of Kirkcaldy has had under construction in the present year about eight houses per 1,000 population, which is a very commendable figure. It belies the argument that Kirkcaldy is suffering because of a lack of adequate subsidies.
§ Mr. Gourlay
One of the reasons why Kirkcaldy has done very well is that it has had a Labour housing convener for many years. That is one of the major reasons.
§ Mr. Hendry
Be that as it may, I congratulate Kirkcaldy on its success under the subsidies provided by the present Government.
The housing problem in Scotland is still desperately bad, but Rome was not built in a day, and the Government have done pretty well, on the figures. Year 680 after year after year they have produced more houses than were produced by the Labour Government in the period 1945–51. In the years when the Labour Government were in power it was comparatively easy to build houses—[Interruption.]—because there were plenty of sites and it was merely a matter of going ahead and building. I know, because I was involved in building council houses at the time. It was comparatively easy.
In this year of grace local authorities are up against all the difficulties of redeveloping central areas. The hon. Member for Glasgow, Central (Mr. McInnes) knows that quite well. He knows what difficulties Glasgow Corporation is up against.
§ Mr. McInnes
The hon. Member must be aware that two Government commissions, appointed in 1950–51 to go into the question of housing costs and housing production, conceded that the period 1945–51 was a difficult period, because we had to wait until the men were demobilised. There was a shortage of both building material and manpower. It was utterly impossible to build houses in those years.
§ Mr. Hendry
It may have been a difficult period, but this is an even more difficult period. We are producing not only houses but hospitals, schools and what not.
§ Mr. Willis
The hon. Member is forgetting that the Labour Government planned and made it possible for a Tory Government to build 39,000 houses per year. When Lord Strathclyde became Joint Under-Secretary he acknowledged that it was largely due to the planning of the Labour Government.
§ Mr. Hendry
I did not want to be come involved in this long arithmetical argument. My experience is that the Labour Government set a target of 24,000 houses per year—
§ Mr. Hendry
—and then rationed out those houses among the different local authorities and said,"That is your share. You will build those and no more." That is my experience. It is true that if a local authority got on 681 pretty quickly with its programme and then went to St. Andrews House it was often able to obtain authority to build more houses to the extent that another authority had fallen down on its job.
But as soon as the Tory Government took over the situation changed. The Government said,"Right. You know how many houses you want and you know what the building industry in your area is capable of doing. Get ahead and build them." That is why, in their first year of office, the Conservative Government far surpassed anything that the Labour Government had done.
§ Mr. Hendry
From then we have gone on, year after year after year, not only producing a great number of houses but also more hospitals, schools and so on.
Another side of the housing problem is slum clearance. It is easy to forget that under this Government, from the time their slum clearance drive started in 1955 to the end of 1962, no fewer than 79,679 slums were demolished or closed in Scotland. That is something of which this Government can rightly be proud. It is something that the Labour Government failed to do.
The Government, in their housing reports—not only this housing report but the report of the Scottish Development Department—show that they are alive to the problem and are giving a great deal of thought to ways in which the situation can be improved. It is still bad because of a number of problems, of which the centre of Glasgow is one. There are still 50,000 slums in the centre of Glasgow, and the sooner they are cleared out of the centre and replaced by decent houses the better it will be, whether it is done under a Conservative or a Labour Government. I do not care which Government do it, but it must be done. This Government have given a great deal of thought to the problem, and I am sure that under them it will be dealt with in a short time. In my view, the present Government are the people who can obtain the quickest results.
I have dealt with the arithmetical arguments at greater length than I intended. I now want to consider another aspect of the housing problem. In Scotland, with its heavy slum problem 682 and its shortage of housing accommodation, it is easy to regard housing as an end in itself and to divorce it entirely from all other considerations. I was therefore extremely glad when my right hon. Friend's predecessor decided to set up a Scottish Development Department to bring the problem of housing into proper focus, along with all the other developments that are now taking place in Scotland.
I am extremely glad that my right hon. Friend has continued the process. He seems to have given a great deal of thought to co-ordinating the problem of housing with the other sides of development. That is obvious not only from the Report of the Scottish Development Department but in respect of certain other new concepts, which I welcome. In particular, I should like to draw attention to page 31 of the Scottish Development Department Report for 1962. In paragraph 15 the Department speaks about consortia of local authorities, and states that the Secretary of State felt that different local authorities—in the same area and probably having the same sort of problems—should co-operate one with another in order to see their housing problem not as individual authorities but as a combination of authorities in the same area, working out their overall needs and by that means producing greater efficiency and dealing with the problem as a whole in accordance with the needs of the area rather than with the needs of anyone local authority.
That concept was carried further in the White Paper which my right hon. Friend produced the other day—The Modernisation of Local Government in Scotland. This is neither the time nor the place to discuss the various implications of the White Paper. It is rather like the curate's egg—good in parts—but one extremely interesting point is mentioned in paragraph 13, where my right hon. Friend points out thatA multiplicity of local boundaries—the corollary to a large number of authorities—may also affect adversely the rate at which a desirable development affecting more than one authority can be planned and executed.That is particularly true of housing, where a small local authority is not prepared to incur heavy capital expenditure and heavy rate expenditure, and I welcome this suggestion and congratulate my right hon. Friend upon it. I 683 see behind this the hand of the Parliamentary Secretary, my hon. Friend the Member for Kinross and West Perthshire (Mr. Leburn) who has had these ideas for a long time. He should be sharing my congratulations.
Having referred to the necessity for local authorities getting together and regarding their areas as a single unit and developing it as such with the help they would get from the Government Departments, I wish to pass on to what is probably the greatest problem in Scotland—certainly the most spectacular—the problem of Glasgow. This enormous local authority is bursting at the seams. Over the years it has grown up higgledy-piggledy in a most dreadful way, especially in the centre. Its large population must be rehoused quickly. These people cannot be rehoused within the city. They must be found housing accommodation outside. Every hon. Member will agree that that is a crying necessity.
Overspill is not purely a matter of housing. We must also consider the redeployment of industry. When contemplating the question of Glasgow's overspill, we must also think of the redeployment of Glasgow's industries. We must be very careful to get our priorities right, and if we regard the matter only from the point of view of housing we are liable to"put the cart before the horse".
k The average local authority would feel most unwilling to accept part of Glasgow's overspill and provide housing, at its own expense, unless it were assured that industry would come with the houses or in anticipation of their provision. The Development Department Report refers to retaining in Glasgow those concerns which have a real claim to stay in Central Glasgow. It is not made clear what industry has such a real claim and I criticise the Report on that score. It does not give any lead about how to decide what industry in Glasgow should be redeployed. Although I may not get an answer tonight—it may be possible to have the answer next year—I should like my right hon. Friend to indicate the plans for redeveloping the centre of Glasgow, and what local authorities in other parts of Scotland may expect in the way of industry, as well as population, from Glasgow. A great many areas 684 in Scotland would welcome people from Glasgow, provided that there was work for them to do—
§ Mr. Hendry
I will come to that in a moment.
In Glasgow we see a great city bursting at the seams while other parts of Scotland contain large areas, sometimes almost whole counties, where there is a rapid decline in the size of the population. It is an intractable problem. It is difficult to find an answer. The Local Employment Act does not give the answer. This piece of legislation is a good tool to use for bringing industry to an area where there is a large measure of unemployment—
§ Mr. Hendry
My experience is otherwise. It does not provide the answer in an area where there is no unemployment because the people who would be unemployed have gone to Aberdeen, Glasgow, Dundee, Edinburgh and to other such places and thereby increased the problems created by over-population. A great deal of thought must be given to retaining the population in such areas where people are inclined to leave, and if necessary to restoring the population to such areas.
The hon. Member for Dunbartonshire, East (Mr. Bence) referred to schools. There are excellent schools and hospitals in some of these areas. I am afraid that some of the hospitals are being closed down. Medical attention can be provided. There are shops and local amenities. Many such places are delectable spots in which to live, and the people who have left there would like to go back. Many of the people from Glasgow would like to live in such areas. But it would be impossible to restore the population to these places unless industry can come there too.
The hon. Member for Glasgow, Central knows that in Glasgow there are a great many small businesses which could operate just as well in other parts of Scotland. It seems to me essential to persuade the people associated with these industries—I do not know how that can be done, housing subsidies will not provide the answer—to leave Glasgow for other parts 685 of Scotland where the provision of employment for even half-a-dozen people is a matter of great local importance.
§ Mr. Lilley
How does my hon. Friend reconcile the idea of industry leaving Glasgow with the fact that for many years we have tried to induce light industry to come to Glasgow? We want to keep what we have.
§ Mr. Hendry
I did not say anything about light industry. I was referring to small industries. The tragedy of Glasgow is the imbalance of industry. A new sort of industry is required. But a great deal of the industry already in the city could be moved and could work elsewhere. If other parts of Scotland are to accommodate the overspill from Glasgow, the industry must go to—
§ Mr. William Baxter (West Stirlingshire)
Does not it indicate a complete misunderstanding of the position when two members of the Government are at loggerheads as to whether industry should move out of Glasgow or into the city? Will the hon. Member tell us what is the policy of the Government which he supports?
§ Mr. Hendry
—but I think I can see what the members of the Government have in mind. It is all in this Blue Book containing the Report to which I have referred, and if the hon. Member will read it he will find out for himself. It is made clear that the industry of Glasgow is completely out of balance and must be brought into balance. This means that not only must people be taken from Glasgow, because that alone would not help very much, but we must bring new types of industry into Glasgow and move out certain kinds of industry already there—
§ Mr. Hendry
If the hon. Member would allow me to finish my speech he will then know what is in my mind.
I said that this is an extremely difficult problem which requires a great deal of thought. I do not think that the 686 hon. Member for West Stirlingshire (Mr. W. Baxter) was present when I began my speech, and when I congratulated my right hon. Friend and the Under-Secretary for the imagination they had shown in trying to see this problem in a new light. But a great deal of thought must still be given to it. I do not ask my hon. Friends to answer tonight—
§ Mr. Hendry
—but I suggest they continue with the thought which is already being given to this matter and try to regard the housing problem in Scotland not as an isolated matter but as part of the redevelopment which is so urgently needed and which I am certain that in future years they will continue to recognise.
§ 8.41 p.m.
§ Mr. William Hannan (Glasgow, Maryhill)
Although I listened carefully to the speech of the hon. Member for Aberdeenshire, West (Mr. Hendry), I found it difficult to follow whether he supports the Government or is opposed to them. At one stage he was uttering the most reactionary statements, yet at another he seemed to be supporting the Opposition.
I wish to make three points. One is on the question of overspill and the difficulty of rehousing Glasgow's population. The Government and the whole country must face the issue that we are not dealing with this problem in the fashion in which we ought to be dealing with it. We have not yet recognised that it is by new towns that the problem will be solved and that absolutely fundamental to that proposition is that industry should be transferred with the rehousing, indeed, in some instances in advance.
The Government have claimed from as far back as 1954, and in the 1956 Housing (Repairs and Maintenance) Act and the Housing Act, 1957, that those Acts would solve the housing problem. Housing would become more free, there would be more houses available for letting and the mobility of labour would be enhanced. We claimed at that time that all the Acts would do would be to unload a larger number of small houses for sale on the market and that people would be penalised thereby. I am fortified in that statement by what has happened and is happening in the City of Glasgow in respect of the pressure brought on 687 tenants, particularly old people, to buy their houses.
One old-age pensioner of 80 in a street in my constituency has received a letter from the house factors saying:We write to inform you that we have received instructions from our clients that it is desired that the flat which you occupy should be sold and before having a notice served on you by sheriff officer we are instruc-same. If, therefore, you are interested in the ted to give you the first offer to purchase purchase of your house, will you arrange a meeting with our Mr.—in the course of the next seven days, but if we do not hear from you within seven days, we shall assume you are not interested in purchase, and of course you will appreciate that your tenancy can be terminated.This is a shameful and shocking practice. Two stairs above this old lady is another who is aged over 80. She is blind and is in the same position. This is a direct result of the Rent Act. The consequences will go very much further than even the Government thought at the time of the passing of that Act. The Government have no answer except that sheriff officers and courts will be applied to for certificates for the eviction of people of such an age.
Another consequence of the Government's policy is seen in high interest rates and the fact that they are claiming that, because of increased incomes, people should be able to buy their homes. That is begging the question of the number of people below the £10 a week wage level in Scotland. According to the Scottish Digest of Statistics, of the total number of wage earners in Scotland, 1,864,800, the number earing £1,000 and over a year before paying tax isonly 209,520. The Government have to bear in mind that chairmen of building societies have said that any applications which come before them for mortgages and loans will be examined to see if they come up to certain standards. One of those standards is that the husband must have an income—disregarding any income of other members of the family—equal to about £1,000 annually before building societies will grant a mortgage.
In view of the contrast which I have drawn showing the few people in Scotland earning such a salary, is it not time that the Government re-examined their whole policy in the light of this 688 and particularly in the light of the statement made in the White Paper that more encouragement is to be given to builders who will build houses to let? How many houses have they built to let in Scotland? None at all. Despite the blandishments here, they will not build houses to let. Even if they did so, according to paragraph 35 it is proposed to let these houses at rents between £4 and £7 a week, exclusive of rates. Is that the Government's policy in Scotland? In view of the very low salaries in Scotland, is that the policy? If it is, surely it is a farce in present economic circumstances.
Policies other than those announced in this White Paper or in recent Government statements will be required to meet the challenge of housing conditions of people in Scotland in general and in Glasgow in particular.
§ 8.47 p.m.
§ Mr. F. J. P. Lilley (Glasgow, Kelvingrove)
I have listened to the debate with much interest. There has been a good deal of reference to statistics but, being no great believer in statistics, I will not touch them with a barge pole. Despite what has been said today in denigration of Scotland, I hope that anyone who comes to Scotland as a tourist does not think of the country as a large slum. Scotland has its beauty, and I wish that some people would say a little more about the beauties of Scotland and even of the City of Glasgow. Even Glasgow has its beauty. It has its slums, too.
Much has been said, particularly by the hon. Member for Coatbridge and Airdrie (Mr. Dempsey), about builders building slums. I have never heard such nonsense. I never saw a slum built in my life. What he said was a denigration of the building industry and the men who take the trouble to build the houses. Years ago these houses were built, and they were admirable. If that is not appreciated, it should be.
§ Mr. Lilley
I am not talking of single ends or a room-and-kitchen. Some years ago there was a councillor in Glasgow known as But-and-Ben Jock, for even then he was complaining bitterly about Glasgow Corporation building so many large houses and refusing to build room-and-kitchen accommodation which is 689 badly needed. In Kelvingrove I could not care less what size the house is as long as it is a new house for some of the people there who are living in what were good houses and are now slums. Some of the people who see me on a Saturday morning tell me that they have been offered houses in some of the new housing schemes in Glasgow but would prefer to remain in the so-called slums. I hope that we are not creating new slums for the future.
On the question of overspill, I have said before—I mean this sincerely—that Glasgow must keep its industry. The hon. Member for Central Ayrshire (Mr. Manuel) spoke of the requirements of Irvine. It requires industry. Let it get all the industry it wants. I know that it has been doing very well. However, we in Glasgow need our industry. It is shocking that people in industry, whose families have been there for over 100 years, should be told that they must get out of Glasgow.
We hear much about the interest charge in relation to housing. What effect has this on industry? The Corporation of Glasgow buys ground under a compulsory purchase order and at the same time charges £600 a year on a 100-year agreement. There are other places in Glasgow where the Corporation is charging as much as 20 per cent. on the money spent. I have said this before in the Scottish Grand Committee.
I want to speak about method. This could help my right hon. Friend the Minister. Surely it is conceivable that the existing services in Glasgow—roads, sewers, water, electricity—could be left where they are. Surely we could clear the slums and rebuild in one movement. We could demolish, rebuild and decant whilst still using the existing services.
I have said this before. I have brought it to the notice of Ministers in the Scottish Grand Committee. I have mentioned a piece of ground in Govan. I once stood as a councillor for Kinning Park. There was a piece of ground there on which we suggested that it was possible to build and decant from the buildings behind it. The buildings behind it have now gone. The people have gone. What do hon. Members think is on that first piece of ground? There is a petrol filling station there.
690 Hon. Members talk about building houses. Glasgow built under 1,000 houses last year. [HON. MEMBERS:"Two thousand."] There is a difference between"built" and"completed". The hon. Member for Glasgow, Craigton (Mr. Millan) said that there were not enough builders either in Glasgow or in Scotland. Glasgow has one of the biggest building organisations in the country, yetit built under 900 houses and completed 2,000 last year. The hon. Member for Glasgow, Central (Mr. McInnes) will agree that the same organisation is there today that built 5,000 in a year. How much ground has Glasgow? Is it prepared to build, or is it following a Shavian principle—"What's yours is mine, and what's mine's my own"?
The hon. Member for Glasgow, Maryhill (Mr. Hannan) mentioned the Rent Act. I do not think it is fully understood by hon. Members that the Rent Act as such leaves me in my constituency with tenements four houses tall, where the top and bottom ones went at £30 or £40 and the ones in between—the sandwich houses—went at £42. Under the Rent Act people in the same sized house pay £105 a year for a house in the centre and people upstairs and people downstairs pay £38. This is how the Rent Act operates. However, I acknowledge that some people in Glasgow are taking advantage of the Rent Act and I should like to see them dealt with. They put people out of their houses and re-let the rooms at 35s. a week, with no surety. That figure includes rates, but there is no surety.
§ 8.55 p.m.
§ Mr. Neil Carmichael (Glasgow, Woodside)
In the very little time that is left, it is not easy to take part in a debate on housing. I was pleased to hear the hon. Member for Glasgow, Kelvingrove (Mr. Lilley) say how much he objected to the Rent Act and how opposed he was to it. Perhaps, if unfortunately he is with us after the next election, he will vote for the repeal of the Rent Act.
The hon. Member said that we were inclined to be too critical of the City of Glasgow, and he wished that we would speak more of the beauties of Glasgow and less of the slums. I am as fond of Glasgow as anyone could be, but there is no doubt that we have slums. If we can devise some method in the House of 691 bringing the human problem involved in living in the slums of Glasgow to the forefront, make those slums a challenge to the whole of our modern living and culture, and solve the problems of Glasgow, the problems of housebuilding and slum clearance in the rest of the country will be comparatively simple. There is no other place that has quite such a bad record as a result of the exploitation of the industrial revolution, of dragging people in from Ireland and the Highlands of Scotland and herding them together under quite inhuman conditions.
A previous medical officer of health for Glasgow quoted the figures for an area close to the area I represent, a fairly large area, where the density of people living there was comparable only with the density of people living on the waterfront at Shanghai. In the 1930s, the infant mortality rate in Glasgow was so bad that there was a famous cartoon in one of the national newspapers, immediately following on the medical officer of health's report, of a stork carrying a baby and the baby saying to the stork"Drop me at any place but Glasgow or Tokyo." Because of our appalling housing conditions, the insanitation, and the enormously cramped quarters in which people were living, infant mortality had reached a level in Glasgow that I hope will never come to any other part of the country. We do not now compare this city with the Far East, and I do not know whether that is because we have improved it so terribly much or that the population explosion in the Far East has made it relatively so much worse off, but in comparison with even the worst English city—probably Liverpool is one of the worst-housed cities in England—the occupancy ratio in Liverpool is enormously better than the occupancy ratio in Glasgow. The Minister of Housing has given the figure of .89 persons per room as being a reasonable occupancy rate. In Glasgow the rate is about 1.3 persons for the city as a whole, although there are enormous stretches where the rate is as high as two and even three.
I want to get this problem out of the realm of statistics. I appreciate that figures must enter the argument, but statistics do not give comfort to people living in bad housing conditions. To- 692 morrow evening I will be meeting some of my constituents, decent men and women with families, who are living in single rooms. Many of them have been living under these conditions for many years. For ten or twelve years a great number of them have been on the municipal housing list. I have little hope of immediately getting decent homes for them—homes in which they may bring up their families with a modicum of comfort.
The situation in Glasgow is so bad that special legislation must be brought in to deal with the problem. We must get away from the idea that we can consider this from a national point of view alone. There are black spots in many parts of Britain, and Glasgow is one of them. Parts of Liverpool and, no doubt, parts of London are black spots. We must launch a two-tier system of relief for the really bad areas, and I would go so far as saying that completely free of interest loans should be made available to these black spots.
This may sound an easy, perhaps ridiculous solution, but everyone knows that if the Polaris base or submarines should eventually cost £20 million or so over the estimated figure there will be a certain amount of claptrap but the money will be made available. If that can be done for such military purposes surely the Government must appreciate the necessity of doing something similar for the badly housed. So many young people are involved that we must give them the chance of having decent lives, in decent, uncramped conditions, so that they may become decent citizens. Something drastic is needed to solve the problem of the housing black spots, of which the City of Glasgow—my constituency—is one of the worst.
§ 9.3 p.m.
§ Mr. William Ross (Kilmarnock)
Since the beginning of the 'twenties Scottish hon. Members have been turning their minds to the problem of Scottish housing. There is, perhaps, no other subject about which, year after year, more passion and anger has been expressed. More frustration has been caused by bad housing conditions in Scotland in the last 40 years than by any other single subject.
If during today's debate it has appeared that hon. Members who represent Glasgow constituencies have dominated the scene, the reason is simply that 693 bad housing dominates Glasgow. There seems to be a perpetual cloud of evil housing which we cannot dispel.
We have had teazled out from this side of the Committee the performance of the Government and their promises. If any area has had promises from the party opposite it has been Scotland. It has been the promised land. We have been promised everything but have got nothing. We do not even get the truth. I have no doubt that tonight the Secretary of State will paint his usual bright picture of the prospects for Scotland—while he will probably be telling himself or another audience the truth about Scotland's housing in a week's time. In the same way, he misled the House last week about the Scottish economy, and then admitted to the Scottish T.U.C. that the outlook was bleak. We want to know what the outlook is for Scottish housing, and for the people who have to live in such conditions.
I am sorry that the Under-Secretary is not here, but I can assure him that I got angrier and angrier with every minute he spoke. I think that we have become so familiar with this problem that we tend to be slightly callous about it, but every now and again we are jolted into a sense of reality. There are the homeless—40,000 of them in Scotland; the people in slums—over 300,000 slum dwellings, with nearly 1 million people in them. What does that mean?
The hon. Member for Fife, East (Sir J. Gilmour) made a very serious mistake in a very good speech—the best speech we heard from that side. He said that we must do something about housing because the houses that people live in form their character. That is not true. It is the home that forms the character, and the home is not the four walls. It says something for the character of Scottish mothers, fathers and grandmothers that they have reared such fine people despite the housing handicaps that have been placed on them.
Every Scottish housewife who has to contend with this problem is waging a battle against dirt and disease, and against something that offends human dignity. We talk of the teen-agers, but let us think of the conditions in which they are growing up in so many parts of Glasgow and Edinburgh, in so many parts of Dundee, and in some of our 694 older burghs as well—and in the countryside, too. It is a struggle for dignity, for respectability, but I sometimes think that hon. Gentleman opposite treat housing rather as a vexatious and irritating matter.
I am glad that my hon. Friend the Member for Glasgow, Central (Mr. McInnes) put this subject into a historical context, because unless we understand the historical context we are not able to appreciate the realities of housing, and the reactions of Scottish people. The fact is that after 1950 even the Tory Government appreciated the immensity of Scotland's housing problem, which is a vast heritage from landlordism and capitalism in its rawest form in the nineteenth century.
After 1950, we got, even from a Tory Government, a matching of the problem with the subsidies. They increased the subsidies in 1952. Why did they do that? They did it because they realised the effect of the increased cost of money. Interest rates had risen, and the then Secretary of State for Scotland, now Lord Stuart of Findhorn, gave that as his reason in the Scottish Committee.
But something happened to the Tory Party after the election of 1955. I think that when the Tory Party is in crisis the people are in danger, because a Tory Government has to buy the loyalty of their back benchers. I notice that The Times today said something about a new strand that had crept into the Tory party after the 'fifties. People used pressures, and a new turn took place in Scottish housing—a turn to squeezing more profit out of Scotland's festering heritage.
The local authority, which had been recognised since the time of the Royal Commission in 1917 as the one authority and the one agent that had to bear the main responsibility for meeting Scotland's housing needs, was crowded out.
We had even today the despairing plea from the hon. Member for North Angus (Sir C. Thornton-Kemsley), who has made it so often and has pinned his faith so often in private enterprise financing for building houses for sale or to let. Private enterprise has let Scotland down, because there is no money to be made out of it. What did we get with the Government's policy of decontrol? We had private enterprise still making money out of Scotland's vile housing by selling 695 slums, and young people in Scotland buying slums because they thought that thereby they would get priority for rehousing.
It is the Government's record that we are debating today, not the Labour Party's record, and the Government's record is that last year they built fewer houses in Scotland than the Labour Government did three years after the war. Can any patriotic Scotsman get up and justify that? It should be remembered too that we built houses when that was not the only thing that we were doing in building. There were millions of houses down here in London which had to be repaired, and the people of Scotland did not mind the fact that there was a concentration of building labour here to do that.
Let us look at the record for this year, because only on that record can we justify any confidence in the promises which the Government are making about what they will do for Scotland in future—and they are making plenty of them. The record for this year shows quite clearly that in Scotland the number of houses built has gone down steadily from 1953. Year by year it has gone down from 39,000 in 1953 to 26,000 this year, but it is not just that. The number of local authority houses has gone down to 16,000 a reduction of 50 per cent.
When my hon. Friends talk about Cowcaddens, Woodside and Bridgeton, do hon. Members think that the people in those places are building private houses? They are dependent entirely upon the local authority. These are the people whose housing has been reduced and reduced.
What about private building? It has trebled, but private building in Scotland has no appreciable effect upon the housing problem. Where have these 7,000 houses been built? Where are the worst housing areas in Scotland? Glasgow? How many private houses are built in Glasgow? Port Glasgow? How many private houses are built in Port Glasgow? Greenock? How many private houses are built in Greenock?
The places where they are built are St. Andrews, Prestwick, Troon and Newton Mearns. These are the places where people are using their wealth to purchase what they want. If in future 696 we are to put our faith in the ability of the Scottish working man or a young couple being able to buy a house, we had better get busy with the Scottish economy. It is not a matter of unwillingness to own one's own house. We have nothing in principle against it. I own mine. Most of my hon. Friends own theirs. But what is the prerequisite of owner-occupation? The Government tell us themselves in their latest White Paper, the one with the name of the Secretary of State tacked on after the name of the Minister of Housing and Local Government, with sentences shoved in here and there about Scotland.
§ Mr. Ross
An afterthought? I do not think that there was any thought in it.
The one thing said about owner-occupation is that it is for people who have the means, for people settled in their careers.
We have 94,000 unemployed. Last week, the Secretary of State told the T.U.C. that we should have just as many next winter. The outlook is bleak. Does the Secretary of State think that building societies are prepared to lend money to people in these circumstances? Does he imagine that Scottish people are prepared to take on a burden of debt like that? They are particular about these matters of finance in Scotland. Most of them were reared and taught to buy things when they had the money to pay. This is the history of Scotland.
I sincerely hope that there will be a complete change of policy on the part of the Government because, if there is not, we shall not get the requisite houses. Taking every authority building houses in Scotland today, apart from the speculative builder—the local authorities, the Scotish Special Housing Association and even the new town corporations—they built fewer houses last year than they built a year before. It is a story of continuing failure.
Yet what a wonderful opportunity there is. At last, people are beginning to realise that our housing situation offers an opportunity to clean up Scotland. People talk about drab housing schemes. I agree that we have lots of them, but they are the old ones. It is refreshing to go through the new towns. It is refreshing 697 even to go through Kilmarnock. The hon. Member for North Angus spoke about a lack of consideration in design. He should look at the photographs of the scheme in Cambuslang, the scheme for old people's houses in Kilmarnock, and see that we are now paying more attention to design, appreciating that we can make grave mistakes which are not easily removed in the present housing situation.
But we are not giving our people a chance. The root of all this failure lies in the change of Government policy of which I spoke. Interest rates are absolutely vital in Scottish housing. This has been said time and again by everyone who builds houses. It was said by the hon. Member for North Angus himself tonight. He was prepared to do something for young scientific workers, key workers and the rest coming into the new areas. Why should they have priority in finance over people in the slums of Glasgow who have lived and been brought up in them and whose fathers and mothers were brought up in them?
§ Sir C. Thornton-Kemsley
The hon. Gentleman asks me a question. My answer is that it is of vital importance that we should encourage the growth industries in Scotland upon which the future of our economy and employment depends.
§ Mr. Ross
Indeed, yes, but, if we carry on with the present housing policy, we shall not have the skilled workers. It is our skilled workers who are leaving Scotland because they cannot find work and because they cannot get decent houses. My hon. Friend the Member for Glasgow, Craigton (Mr. Millan) said that our ability to provide the houses we need, and the kind of houses we need, depends upon the prosperity of Scotland. I do not disagree, but I do not think that they should get priority over other needs. It. is equally essential that they should clean up Scotland and get rid of the scars of the industrialism of the past. It is a cynical comment that it was private industry which created the slums, and now the slums are handicapping us and preventing us from attracting private industry into Scotland. Therefore, let us bend our energies to this task and 698 ensure that our financial policies are suitable for it.
That means reducing rates of interest. We talk about rates of interest, and hon. Gentlemen opposite reply about rents. This all stems from the same thing—the Government's policy and determination that the homeless and overcrowding in Scotland should bear the brunt of an inflation with which they had nothing to do but which the Government created and caused. The Radcliffe Committee reported that we could have reduced rates of interest for these social purposes. It is essential that we should. That is why my hon. Friends are right in saying that it is a red herring to talk always about rent. It is really a question of whether we are determined to get on with the task and get the socially necessary building done. It is an absolute scandal if the Government do anything to impede the building of houses.
What should our target be? We are getting new targets. The Prime Minister comes to Glasgow and decrees that the sun has shone. At that time we thought there was a General Election in the offing, and so did he. So the sun had to shine. He decreed that the spring had come and the songbirds of the Tory Party were about to sing their songs of the 'seventies, and the kilted canaries of the Scottish Office had to join in. I wonder whether the Secretary of State for Scotland read this advertisement that I have here before he allowed his photograph to appear in it.
§ Mr. Ross
There were an awful lot of Scots people who were following a certain piece of news. This was rather an ill-timed advertisement for the Tories. I merely noticed it when I was turning towards a story on page 11 of the Scottish Sunday Express. I saw a headline:'Cut out this cant', says Maudling.so I cut it out. This is a Scottish paper, appearing only in Scotland, and, presumably, read only by Scottish people, and there was a photograph, not a terribly good one—there were far better photographs in the paper that day—of the Secretary of State for Scotland:whose job it will be to launch the new housing programme north of the Border.699 It is exactly the same as an advertisement that appeared south of the Border with a photograph—a much better one—of the Minister of Housing and Local Government. But the Minister of Housing and Local Government had a statement to make. He said:It is my job to launch this programme so that housing will keep pace with the rising economy and rising standards.Why was that missed out of the Scottish advertisement?
The advertisement says:Housing: The big leap forward. A thousand new houses a day—and at least 500 older houses modernised every day.Most of the people in the slums of Scotland who are overcrowded and those who are homeless would settle for one instead of a thousand. Is Scotland to get 1,000 new houses a day? No. There was a wee bit in parenthesis. The Government are, in fact, building 35,000 houses less than they were building in 1953. That is the pattern of the great new leap forward. We are, on the contrary, leaping backwards. If the truth had been put in the Scottish headline, it would have stated 96 houses a day.
What is the truth about the statement about 500 older houses being modernised every day? I have here the figures for Scotland. The answer is that nine older houses are being modernised every day. Because the programme for new houses has been made, the other one did not start at all. Indeed, three out of every four of these modernisations are by owner occupiers and bear no relation to the houses we really want to be improved.
Who is subsidising whom? The Scottish taxpayers must be subsidising an awful lot of improvement grants in England at no benefit to themselves. Here is the pledge. Does the right hon. Gentleman support it?The housing shortage has already been greatly relieved. The new plan aims to wipe out the housing shortage for good.Then it promises to build 35,000 houses a year in Scotland. The right hon. Gentleman will not even deal with the slum problem at that rate. By the time he has finished in ten years he will have as many slums as he started with, unless he remodels the whole aspects. If he is banking on housing associations and the building societies and is squeezing 700 out the local authorities, it means that the local authorities will be building only about 16,000 houses a year, 10,000 of them for slum clearance and 6,000 for all the other needs.
We will not have cleared the slums at this rate because the slum problem is not static. It is one that grows and in ten years time we shall have more of them. I am sorry that the hon. Member for Ayr (Sir T. Moore) is not here. In 1935 he went down on his knees to thank heaven for Sir Godfrey Collins' great new slum clearance proposals. Sir Godfrey said that in five years' time the Scottish slums would have gone. They are still there—worse than ever. The only thing I regret is that the hon. Member for Ayr is still with us too.
The advertisement went on:We shall tackle our biggest problem of all—that of a growing population.But that is the one thing we will not tackle, because we have not got a growing population in Scotland. Every year25,000 people leave Scotland. That is why we have not got a growing population. We should have, but the Government have failed Scotland throughout their twelve years of office
What is to be done about all this? Nothing is said here about the land. Nothing is said about the difficulties of Glasgow's overspill. What is the right hon. Gentleman to do to ensure that the land is available, and available at the right price? The local authorities are encountering some of the results of the Government's policy in relation to town and country planning.
Hon. Members will remember that we were told that this was theoretical in Scotland because there were no difficulties there. But the difficulties are nevertheless there, both notional market value is now beginning to be the value and Lord Howard de Walden is charging higher rents not just for petrol pumps around Kilmarnock but for building land as well. That is what is happening in Scotland, and it will continue to happen.
What is the Secretary of State to do about that? What is he to do about interest rates, or subsidies? Above all, what is he to do about organising the people of Scotland and the building industry of Scotland? The building industry is not, or should not be, static. 701 There are more Scots people building factories and office buildings in England than there are building houses in Scotland.
We challenge him to do something about land, to do something about the building industry, to do something about the financing of housing and for goodness' sake to give the local authorities a chance and their head, and to give the people of Scotland a chance.
I quote one paragraph from a leader in The Times of today:This is at heart an eager, noble, and generous people.That is true of the people of Scotland, too.What Britain wishes above all to see on the great stage of affairs is a new attitude. She enforced that wish in 1945. She will do so again. The appeal to affluence is about done.The appeal should be to dedication, to service, and to Scotland.
§ 9.31 p.m.
§ The Secretary of State for Scotland (Mr. Michael Noble)
The Committee has listened with great interest to many speeches, and certainly to the speech of the hon. Member for Kilmarnock (Mr. Ross). He had the support of the whole Committee when he talked about the importance to Scotland of the whole of our development plans. When, as occasionally happened, he seemed to me to be rivalling Alan King, whom I saw at the variety show in Glasgow last night, it was amusing but out of keeping with the general feeling in the Committee about housing in Scotland today.
On two occasions he spoke on a theme which I believe to be entirely unacceptable to hon. Members or to Scotland. He said that housing was dependent entirely on local government, and that private building made no appreciable difference. Those were his words as I took them down. He suggested that the Government were banking on private enterprise and were aiming to squeeze out local authorities from the whole of our building operations.
This is entirely and completely untrue, and the hon. Member knows it perfectly well. I know that this feeling has percolated through years if not decades of Socialist thinking, and I do not expect it to change overnight, but there are many people in Scotland who see the 702 advantages of co-operation in this respect.
As I listened to the debate—and this is the first on housing which we have had for two years—I thought that this was particularly important because it seemed that serious and devastating though some of the social problems in our slums undoubtedly are, there was a feeling, more widely expressed than I remember in earlier debates of this sort, that housing was closely linked with the whole of the economic development of Scotland.
There were one or two themes which went through the debate and on which I should like to comment before turning to particular speeches. The first was the theme of the small house. This was mentioned by the hon. Member for Glasgow, Central (Mr. McInnes) and by the hon. Member for Glasgow, Craigton (Mr. Millan) and many others.
I agree with the hon. Member for Craigton when he says that the problem of the small house is to some extent a traditional one in Scotland. It is a traditional pattern from which perhaps we have not departed quickly enough, but it is none the less true—and I think the Committee must accept this—that the pattern of local authority building is not laid down by the Government; it is chosen by each local authority [Hon. Members:"Oh."] This is so. Local authorities submit their plans, and they say in what proportion they want the varying sizes of house to fit in with their own local needs at any moment.
As hon. Gentlemen know, the subsidy is not graded according to the size of the house, and the economic difference between building a two-apartment house and a three-apartment house is very marginal.
§ Mr. Noble
It is true that many of the slums in Glasgow are being cleared, and I give Glasgow Corporation the full merit it deserves for its speed in trying to redevelop these areas which contain a large number of small houses.
It is unfortunately true—it may be our tradition—that Scotsmen are by nature independent. I think that Scotsmen by nature do not like sharing their houses with, I shall not say mothers-in-law, but other members of the family, and because old-age pensions are better I think that more old people are able to afford to live in small houses, and want them.
§ Mr. Noble
I agree that the rate of building small houses today may be too high, but in the surveys which local authorities have been making over the last few years this high rate was their request to balance perhaps the few small houses for older people in the past.
The second general theme which has run through the debate is the question of a differential rate of interest for house building. Hon. Gentlemen opposite have stated all the way through that the one factor which is holding back house building in Scotland today is high interest rates. This point was made by the hon. Member for Glasgow, Govan (Mr. Rankin), the hon. Member for Kirkaldy Burghs (Mr. Gourlay)—though I unfortunately missed his speech—and by many others.
§ Mr. Rankin
I did not say that that was the one factor which was retarding house building. I said that it was perhaps the chief factor.
§ Mr. Noble
I said that this was a main theme which ran through many of the speeches.
I think that the point about which the country and the Committee have to make up their minds is exactly what we are going to do in the form of differential rates of this kind. When my hon. Friend the hon. Member for North Angus and Mearns (Sir C. Thornton-Kemsley) dealt with this point, he did so in relation not just to a specific type of social service, but to Government policy as a 704 whole. He said that if this was necessary, education might need to be brought in as well as roads, hospitals, and other things of that sort, and hon. Gentlemen opposite asked,"Yes, and why not?" It is possible for any Government to decide, if they want, to have a special low rate of interest for certain things which they consider are more important than others.
The hon. Member for Craigton suggested that building societies should be included in the same low rate because they were held up to some extent by the current rates at the time. If we are to do this, however, we must be clear what we are sacrificing. Do not let us think that we can shovel something under the carpet as a sort of hidden subsidy. We must know how much of our national investment—and that is what housing comes to in the end—isbeing given a specially low rate of interest, because then our people can judge whether we are prepared to face the cost of it. If, in some other form of investment, the proper return is 4 per cent., 5 per cent., or 6 per cent., we must know exactly what it is costing the country to have an artificially low level of 2 per cent.
If we do not do this we make economic fools of ourselves. Hon. Members opposite know that at the end of the period when a low rate of interest was maintained right through the economy, as it was during their six years of office, certain economic and financial difficulties faced the country in 1951.
The policy which we are trying to work out as best we can is to deal with interest rates through subsidies to local authorities. It is not right for hon. Members to talk about a certain rate of subsidy for a certain house costing so much at this moment. The whole purpose of the subsidies is to balance not the cost of an individual house but the whole housing account of the local authority concerned. In our White Paper we have promised to review this question with the local authorities, so that if help is needed for some of the purposes that have been mentioned it can be given.
§ Mr. Ross
I will leave local authorities out of the question and debate the obvious case. What about the new town corporations? They have had to borrow all their money in dear money periods. Is the right hon. Gentleman prepared to do something about that? We want to test the sincerity of what he has just said.
§ Mr. Noble
The new town corporations together with my staff, are examining this problem in relation to the fact that all their houses are new ones and are being built in a period of high interest. I have had a discussion with them, and I have no doubt that I shall have others. We are discussing this problem. But the new towns are not in the same category as some towns which have corporation houses dating back over 30 or 40 years.
The hon. Member for Central asked me whether I was satisfied with the rate at which we were clearing slums at the moment. I am not. The speech of my hon. Friend the Joint Under-Secretary made this absolutely clear. At the moment I cannot give the Committee accurate figures relating to the problem of overcrowding. Although the impression that we have gained from many local authorities is that the position is getting better, the census figures which are being worked on have not come through yet in nearly a complete enough state to claim that the position is much better, or to say exactly what it is.
The hon. Member for Govan referred to areas in Glasgow where roughly 700 people are living to an acre. This, alas, is a fact, and it illustrates the extreme importance of the overspill problem in the city. Unless we can get new houses built in the overspill areas for these people to move out to it is certainly not possible to redevelop these areas—something which must be done.
§ Mr. McInnes
Surely the right hon. Gentleman remembers that we debated the question of overspill a fortnight ago, when it was revealed that the Government had not attained even one-third of the target set.
§ Mr. Noble
I am afraid I cannot accept that from the hon. Gentleman. There are many points which I wish to cover, and so I should like to get on with my speech.
706 The hon. Member for Govan said he could not accept the Votes this year because—if I remember his figure accurately—they were £454,000 less than last year. This, as a matter of fact, is purely an accounting adjustment. Last year there was £1,193,000 in the Estimate for the Scottish Special Housing Association. This year there is only a token amount of £10 because it had an excessive surplus in its repairs fund. If we take this element out of the figures, the increase this year is £738,000, and so I hope that the hon. Gentleman may reconsider his position.
He also said that the deficit per house on existing subsidies was very serious, even with £54 as a notional rental. If there was a rental of anywhere near £54 on existing houses—this is over the whole housing account—there would be no need to put any burden on the rates in most areas at all. My hon. Friend the Member for Glasgow, Cathcart (Mr. J. Henderson)—
§ Mr. Noble
—because there are many points which I wish to answer. It was a long and interesting debate.
My hon. Friend the Member for Cathcart spoke of the drop in the number of houses which he said was due to the change from building on virgin land to central sites. Everybody who has studied the figures knows that my predecessor said to the House for several years that while that was going on there would be a drop in the number of houses. The figures given by my hon. Friend indicate that now that Glasgow has successfully tackled this problem the figures are moving up—perhaps not quite so fast as we should like, but very fast indeed.
The other point made by my hon. Friend related to office building. This point was also made by my hon. Friend the Member for Fife, East (Sir J. Gilmour). My hon. Friend said that if there was, as it were, a competition between housing and office building, housing should receive priority. I think that, to some extent, this would be acceptable to many hon. Members. But 707 we must also realise that if as a country we are to grow economically in the way we wish, we must have some new office building. This is a problem which has certainly been acute in London, but nothing like so acute in our Scottish cities. I hope that we may attract more people to Glasgow and other cities in Scotland. Office work provides important employment for school leavers and others. This matter of office building and housing is a question of balance and it is not something which may be settled by a snap decision.
§ Mr. Noble
It is certain that unless we have modern office blocks we shall not attract the people, and to that extent some development of this sort is necessary.
I thought that the hon. Member for Craigton made a first-class debating speech which was slightly marred, perhaps, by the fact that he was more than a little unfair to my hon. Friend the Joint Under-Secretary of State. He accused my hon. Friend of misleading the Committee over the question of the target for slum clearance. I know that when someone is speaking it is difficult to keep an exact check on the words used. But my hon. Friend clearly said that the three-year period finished at the end of 1964 and the latest date for which he had figures was March and the figure was 13,000, so that I do not think there was any question of misleading the Committee about this. He also felt that it was dishonest of my hon. Friend to refer to a target of 35,000 houses for Scotland. I quite agree that it might have been set out as such in the White Paper, but surely there is nothing dishonest in telling the Committee the figures which one thinks are reasonable and realistic for the immediate future. The hon. Member also said that no Minister had mentioned the land prob- 708 lem. I think that when he reads my hon. Friend's speech he will find a considerable reference to it.
I accept the fact that over the last four years we have been lower than England in the league table. We were also above England, as the hon. Member fairly said, for nine years before that. We must not too slavishly demand comparisons between England and Scotland. I do not think the hon. Member would like to rely on the different levels of rents in Scotland and in England, even taking into consideration earnings in the two countries.
Unlike his hon. Friend who wound up for the Opposition, the hon. Member for Craigton realised that there was an important part for private building to play. If he follows his own argument he will admit that if we have a policy in Scotland whereby local authority rents are very low indeed it is made exceedingly difficult for private enterprise to build houses and to find tenants for them.
He rightly said that the number of people employed in the building industry was not static and that 20,000 extra had come in since 1959. I have not the exact figures on which that was based, but the hon. Member always does his homework very carefully and I accept that as right. It is important to realise that we can get more skilled workers into the building industry only if we have co-operation from the trade unions, and I am sure we shall have it. The hon. Member asked when we last talked to the building industry. That is the natural function of the Ministry of Public Building and Works, which keeps in very close touch with my Scottish Development Department.
My hon. Friend the Member for North Angus asked about the situation at the B.M.C. plant at Bathgate. I also visited that plant in May so I know something of its particular problems. Both in regard to that and to Linwood the suggestion he made has been carried out. We have had conferences with these big developing industries, before they arrived, to discuss all these problems of housing. Even an industry of the size of B.M.C. or Rootes at Linwood cannot always be certain how fast it will develop. The phasing of the houses is therefore rather more difficult than one would imagine at the beginning. When I was there in May 709 I was told that the development had suddenly come on faster than had been expected and I was asked if they could have another 240 houses by September. This is the sort of problem which, however carefully one plans, is very difficult to provide for, because to provide 240 houses in four or five months must mean, as it were, pinching houses which some other authority is already building for its own purpose.
The hon. Member for Coatbridge and Airdrie (Mr. Dempsey) was, I think, unfair to my right hon. Friend the previous Secretary of State by suggesting that he had given some housing site to a private contractor just because he was a Tory politician. I do not believe the Committee would accept that for a moment.
§ The Deputy-Chairman (Sir Robert Grimston)
Order. If the right hon. Gentleman does not give way the hon. Member must resume his seat.
§ Mr. Noble
I said it was difficult; I did not say it was impossible. I agree with the hon. Member about the problem of design for housing. There are good designs in Ayrshire, Inverness, Argyll and many other areas, irrespective of their political complexion. My hon. Friend the Member for Fife, East spoke about the problem of getting extra labour into the industry and illustrated this comment with a reference to the problem of skilled labour in his area. He spoke of the value of improvement grants—a point taken up by my hon. Friend the Member for Edinburgh, West (Mr. Stodart). These are important, and we have done our best to give them wide publicity, because if we are to keep pace with the needs of slum clearance we have the twin problem of new building and the maintenance and repair of the houses which are falling into decay.
The hon. Member for Kirkcaldy Burghs said that it was unreasonable to relate reasonable rents to gross annual
§ value. I am aware of the particular situation in Fife, and I have never said that these should be equated. All that I have said is that the gross annual value is the best guide which is available to local authorities of what a reasonable rent should be. My hon. Friend the Member for Edinburgh, West, spoke about the possibility of tying the rebate system to the Inland Revenue in some form. This might be difficult, but it is an idea worth looking at. The Scottish Special Housing Association, which has run this satisfactorily for a number of years, finds that it can do it without such a complicated system.
§ The problem before Scotland today is one in which housing development and industrial growth must go hand in hand. The new towns have shown the importance of attracting industry by having modern housing and modern facilities there for it. I agree with both the hon. Member for Craigton and the hon. Member for Kilmarnock that in Scotland we are often not sufficiently angry about the housing position. We have tolerated it—and this goes through all sections of the community. We have not converted the anger which one has reason to feel about slum conditions into constructive new ideas. I believe that in promising to meet the local authorities on subsidies, and in the increases which have already begun to show in the number of houses under construction, the Government are playing their part. I believe that local authorities, too, should look very carefully not only at rents but at the whole of their management of housing generally, so that we make the best use of the houses which are available to help us in this problem. I believe, with great hope, that the trade unions, which have a great part to play if we are to change our system of house building, will help us in getting the best solution to this very important problem.
§ Question put:—
§ The Committee divided: Ayes 137, Noes 212.713
|Division No. 156.]||AYES||[10.0 p.m.|
|Ainsley, William||Bacon, Miss Alice||Beaney, Alan|
|Albu, Austen||Barnett, Guy||Bellenger, Rt. Hon. F. J.|
|Allen, Scholefield (Crewe)||Baxter, William (Stirlingshire, W.)||Bence, Cyril|
|Bennett, J. (Glasgow, Bridgeton)||Hilton, A. V.||Pargiter, G. A.|
|Benson, Sir George||Holman, Percy||Parker, John|
|Bottomley, Rt. Hon. A. C.||Hooson, H. E.||Pavitt, Laurence|
|Bowden, Rt. Hn. H. W. (Leics.S.W.)||Houghton, Douglas||Peart, Frederick|
|Boyden, James||Hoy, James H.||Popplewell, Ernest|
|Bray, Dr. Jeremy||Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayrshire)||Prentice, R. E.|
|Brown, Rt. Hon. George (Belper)||Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.)||Probert, Arthur|
|Butler, Herbert (Hackney, C.)||Hunter, A. E.||Proctor, W. T.|
|Carmichael, Neil||Hynd, John (Attercliffe)||Pursey, Cmdr. Harry|
|Chapman, Donald||Irvine, A. J. (Edge Hill)||Rankin, John|
|Cliffe, Michael||Janner, Sir Barnett||Redhead, E. C.|
|Craddock, George (Bradford, S.)||Jay, Rt. Hon. Douglas||Rees, Merlyn (Leeds, S.)|
|Crosland, Anthony||Jenkins, Roy (Stechford)||Reid, William|
|Cullen, Mrs. Alice||Johnson, Carol (Lewisham, S.)||Reynolds, G. W.|
|Dalyell, Tam||Jones, Elwyn (West Ham, S.)||Robertson, John (Palsley)|
|Darling, George||Key, Rt. Hon. C. W.||Rodgers, W. T. (Stockton)|
|Dempsey, James||King, Dr. Horace||Ross, William|
|Diamond, John||Ledger, Ron||Skeffington, Arthur|
|Dodds, Norman||Lever, L. M. (Ardwick)||Slater, Mrs. Harriet (Stoke, N.)|
|Donnelly, Desmond||Lubbock, Eric||Slater, Joseph (Sedgefield)|
|Driberg, Tom||MacColl, James||Small, William|
|Ede, Rt. Hon. C.||MacDermot, Niall||Snow, Julian|
|Edwards, Robert (Bilston)||McInnes, James||Soskice, Rt. Hon. Sir Frank|
|Edwards, Walter (Stepney)||McKay, John (Wallsend)||Steele, Thomas|
|Fernyhough, E,||McLeavy, Frank||Stones, William|
|Fitch, Alan||MacMillan, Malcolm (Western Isles)||Strachey, Rt. Hon. John|
|Foot, Michael (Ebbw Vale)||Manuel, Archie||Stross,Dr.Barnett(Stoke-on-Trent,C.)|
|Galpern, Sir Myer||Mapp, Charles||Taverne, D.|
|Ginsburg, David||Marsh, Richard||Thomson, G. M. (Dundee, E.)|
|Gordon Walker, Rt. Hon. P, C.||Mendelson, J. J.||Thornton, Ernest|
|Gourlay, Harry||Millan, Bruce||Timmons, John|
|Greenwood, Anthony||Milne, Edward||Weitzman, David|
|Griffiths, Rt. Hon. James (Llanelly)||Mitchison, G. R.||Whitlock, William|
|Grimond, Rt. Hon. J.||Moody, A. S.||Wigg, George|
|Gunter, Ray||Morris, John||Wilkins, W. A.|
|Hale, Leslie (Oldham, W.)||Moyle, Arthur||Williams, W. R. (Openshaw)|
|Hamilton, William (West Fife)||Mulley, Frederick||Williams, W. T. (Warrington)|
|Hannan, William||Noel-Baker, Francis (Swindon)||Willis, E. G. (Edinburgh, E)|
|Harper, Joseph||Noel-Baker, Rt.Hn.Philip(Derby,S.)||Woof, Robert|
|Hayman, F. H.||O'Malley, B. K.||Yates, Victor (Ladywood)|
|Henderson,Rt.Hn.Arthur(RwlyRegis)||Oram, A. E.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|Herbison, Miss Margaret||Oswald, Thomas||Mr. Lawson and|
|Hill, J. (Midlothian)||Paget, R. T.||Mr. Charles A. Howell.|
|Pannell, Charles (Leeds, W.)|
|Aitken, Sir William||Cooper-Key, Sir Neil||Harrison, Col. Sir Harwood (Eye)|
|Allason, James||Cordeaux, Lt.-Col. J. K.||Harvey, Sir Arthur Vere (Macclesf'd)|
|Arbuthnot, John||Corfield, F. V.||Harvey, John (Walthamstow, E.)|
|Ashton, Sir Hubert||Craddock, Sir Beresford (Spelthorne)||Hastings, Stephen|
|Atkins, Humphrey||Crawley, Aidan||Heald, Rt. Hon. Sir Lionel|
|Awdry, Daniel (Chippenham)||Crowder, F. P.||Henderson, John (Cathcart)|
|Barter, John||Cunningham, Knox||Hendry, Forbes|
|Batsford, Brian||Dalkeith, Earl of||Hicks Beach, Maj. W.|
|Bidgood, John C.||Dance, James||Hill, J. E. B. (S. Norfolk)|
|Biffen, John||Deedes, Rt. Hon. W. F.||Hirst, Geoffrey|
|Bingham, R. M.||Digby, Simon Wingfield||Hocking, Philip N.|
|Birch, Rt. Hon. Nigel||Donaldson, Cmdr. C. E. M.||Holland, Philip|
|Bishop, F. P.||Doughty, Charles||Hopkins, Alan|
|Black, Sir Cyril||du Cann, Edward||Hornby, R. P.|
|Bossom, Hon. Clive||Elliot, Capt. Walter (Carshalton)||Hornsby-Smith, Rt. Hon. Dame P.|
|Bourne-Arton, A.||Elliott,R.W.(Newc'tle-upon-Tyne,N.||Hughes Hallett, Vice-Admiral John|
|Box, Donald||Farey-Jones, F. W.||Hughes-Young, Michael|
|Braine, Bernard||Fell, Anthony||Iremonger, T. L.|
|Brewis, John||Finlay, Graeme||James, David|
|Bromley-Davenport,Lt.-Col.SirWalter||Fisher, Nigel||Jennings, J. C.|
|Brown, Alan (Tottenham)||Foster, John||Johnson, Dr. Donald (Carlisle)|
|Browne, Percy (Torrington)||Fraser, Ian (Plymouth, Sutton)||Johnson, Eric (Blackley)|
|Bryan, Paul||Gammans, Lady||Johnson Smith, Geoffrey|
|Buck, Anthony||Gardner, Edward||Jones, Arthur (Northants, S.)|
|Bullus, Wing Commander Eric||Gilmour, Sir John (East Fife)||Kerans, Cdr, J. S.|
|Burden, F. A.||Glover, Sir Douglas||Kerr, Sir Hamilton|
|Carr, Compton (Barons Court)||Glyn, Dr. Alan (Clapham)||Kershaw, Anthony|
|Cary, Sir Robert||Glyn, Sir Richard (Dorset, N.)||Kimball, Marcus|
|Channon, H. P. G.||Goodhew, Victor||Kirk, Peter|
|Chataway, Christopher||Gough, Frederick||Lagden, Godfrey|
|Chichester-Clarke, R.||Green, Alan||Lancaster, Col. C. G.|
|Clark, Henry (Antrim, N.)||Grosvenor, Lord Robert||Leburn, Gilmour|
|Clark, William (Nottingham, S.)||Gurden, Harold||Legge-Bourke, Sir Harry|
|Cleaver, Leonard||Hall, John (Wycombe)||Lilley, F. J. P.|
|Cole, Norman||Hamilton, Michael (Wellingborough)||Linstead, Sir Hugh|
|Cooke, Robert||Harris, Frederic (Croydon, N.W.)||Litchfield, Capt. John|
|Cooper, A. E.||Harris, Reader (Heston)||Lloyd,Rt.Hn.Geoffrey(Sut'nC'dfield)|
|Lloyd, Rt. Hon. Selwyn (Wirral)||Percival, Ian||Taylor, Frank (M'ch'st'r, Moss Side)|
|Longbottom, Charles||Pickthorn, Sir Kenneth||Taylor, Sir William (Bradford, N.)|
|Longden, Gilbert||Pitman, Sir James||Teeling, Sir William|
|Loveys, Walter H.||Pott, Percivall||Temple, John M.|
|Lucas, Sir Jocelyn||Powell, Rt. Hon. J. Enoch||Thatcher, Mrs. Margaret|
|Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh||Price, David (Eastleigh)||Thomas, Sir Leslie (Canterbury)|
|McAdden, Sir Stephen||Prior-Palmer, Brig. Sir Otho||Thomas, Peter (Conway)|
|McLaren, Martin||Proudfoot, Wilfred||Thornton-Kemsley, Sir Colin|
|Maclean, SirFitzroy(Bute&N.Ayrs)||Pym, Francis||Tilney, John (Wavertree)|
|Macleod, Rt. Hn. Iain (Enfield, W.)||Rawlinson, Sir Peter||Touche, Rt. Hon. Sir Gordon|
|Macmillan, Maurice (Halifax)||Redmayne, Rt. Hon. Martin||Turner, Colin|
|Macpherson, Rt.Hn.Niall(Dumfries)||Rees, Hugh (Swansea, W.)||Turton, Ht. Hon. R. H.|
|Maddan, Martin||Rees-Davies, W. R. (Isle of Thanet)||Tweedsmulr, Lady|
|Marlowe, Anthony||Ridley, Hon. Nicholas||van Straubenzee, W. R.|
|Marten, Nell||Ridsdale, Julian||Vaughan-Morgan, Rt. Hon. Sir John|
|Mathew, Robert (Honiton)||Roberts, Sir Peter (Heeley)||Vickers, Miss Joan|
|Matthews, cordon (Meriden)||Roots, William||Vosper, Rt. Hon. Dennis|
|Maxwell-Hyslop, R. J.||Ropner, Col. Sir Leonard||Wakefield, Sir Wavell|
|Maydon, Lt.-Cmdr. S. L. C.||St. Clair, M.||Walder, David|
|Mills, Stratton||Sharples, Richard||Wall, Patrick|
|Miscampbell, Norman||Shaw, M.||Ward, Dame Irene|
|Montgomery, Fergus||Shepherd, William||Webster, David|
|More, Jasper (Ludlow)||Sheet, T. H. H.||Wells, John (Maidstone)|
|Mott-Radclyffe, Sir Charles||Smith, Dudley (Br'ntf'd & Chiswick)||Whitelaw, William|
|Nabarro, Sir Gerald||Smithers, Peter||Williams, Dudley (Exeter)|
|Noble, Rt. Hon. Michael||Spearman, Sir Alexander||Williams, Paul (Sunderland, S.)|
|Nugent, Rt. Hon. Sir Richard||Speir, Rupert||Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)|
|Oakshott, Sir Hendrie||Stevens, Geoffrey||Wise, A. R.|
|Orr, Capt., L. P. S.||Steward, Harold (Stockport, S.)||Wolrige-Cordon, Patrick|
|Orr-Ewing, Sir Charles||Stodart, J. A.||Woodhouse, C. M.|
|Page, Graham (Crosby)||Studholme, Sir Henry||Worsley, Marcus|
|Pannell, Norman (Kirkdale)||Summers, Sir Spencer||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:|
|Partridge, E.||Tapsell, Peter||Mr. Gordon Campbell|
|Pearson, Frank (Clitheroe)||Taylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne)||and Mr. MacArthur,|
|Peel, John||Taylor, Edwin (Bolton, E.)|
§ Original Question again proposed.
§ It being after Ten o'clock, The Chairman left the Chair to report Progress and ask leave to sit again.
§ Committee report Progress; to sit again Tomorrow.