HC Deb 17 July 1963 vol 681 cc513-4
28. Mr. W. Hamilton

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland how long it will take to clear the slums, on the basis of the policy set out in the recent White Paper on Housing.

Mr. Leburn

As paragraph 15 of the White Paper says, our aim is to deal with nearly all the remaining slums within the next ten years.

Mr. Hamilton

Whom does the hon. Gentleman think he is kidding? Is he aware that there are 800,000 houses over 80 years old in Scotland and that at the present rate of clearance it will take another 80 years before these are cleared, by which time we shall have another 800,000 houses over 80 years old? In other words, we will have slums for all our time. Will the Government give us a proper estimate of how soon they expect to get rid of this terrible blight on the Scottish economy, instead of giving us this silly answer of ten years? The answer of five years was given thirty years ago.

Mr. Leburn

I have tried to give the answer to the hon. Gentleman's Question. I certainly could not accept his figures in any way whatsoever. In 1961 the estimate of the local authorities was 90,000 houses. I would not accept that as by any means the top figure, but I am sure that the hon. Gentleman's figure exaggerates the whole question out of all recognition.

Mr. Ross

Was the hon. Gentleman's original answer meant to be a correction of the kindly question of my hon. Friend when he spoke about an aim? What is the policy which is in this White Paper, because I read it about ten times and did not find one?