HC Deb 29 July 1964 vol 699 cc1399-400
7. Sir C. Thornton-Kemsley

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what was the annual average figure for completions of new houses in Scotland between 1951 and 1963; and what is the target for 1965 and thereafter.

Mr. Noble

The average number of houses completed annually by all agencies in Scotland between 1951 and 1963 was 30,842. Some 36,000 houses are expected to be completed in 1965 and our aim thereafter is to reach 40,000 houses a year as quickly as possible.

Sir C. Thornton-Kemsley

Will my right hon. Friend give the House his expectations about achieving his target already announced for the current year, 1964?

Mr. Noble

It is always difficult to forecast what is going to happen in the last six months of the year, but in the first six months of this year we were fully up to our target.

Mr. Steele

Does the right hon. Gentleman recognise that one of the former Under-Secretaries said that after 1951 there was a progressive decrease in house building? Can he say whether from 1961 to 1963 the actual numbers fell or rose?

Mr. Noble

As I have said to the hon. Member, the average was 30,842. This involved, as all averages do, some ups and some downs.

Mr. Ross

Will the right hon. Gentleman make clear to the House that the Government have not yet been able to reach the total achieved in 1953 as a result of the planning of the last Labour Government?

Mr. Noble

I do not accept the last part of the hon. Member's statement—[HON. MEMBERS: "It is true."]—but the fact, as I have often said in the House and I think the House understands well, is that we were in a period in the early part of the 1950s in which we were building in green fields. Since then we have been building in centres of towns and that inevitably slows progress.

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