HC Deb 24 June 1964 vol 697 cc378-80
4. Mr. Brewis

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland how many houses he now expects to be completed in Scotland in 1964.

46. Mr. Ross

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will estimate the number of houses he expects to be completed in 1964; and how many of these will be for private owners.

The Under-Secretary of State for Scotland (Mr. Gordon Campbell)

About 34,000 houses should be completed by all agencies this year, of which some 7,000 are likely to be built for private owners.

Mr. Brewis

Is not this also a record, for a great many years at least? Can my hon. Friend say whether any particular building agency is responsible for this more than any other?

Mr. Campbell

It is a satisfactory figure and reflects the energetic work of all the building agencies concerned. More than 48,000 houses are now under construction, and this is the highest number since the war.

Mr. Ross

But is not the figure which the hon. Member for Galloway (Mr. Brewis) described as a record still 6,000 less than that reached in 1953 as a result of the planning of the Labour Government? Is it not a fact that if that 1953 figure had been maintained we would have had 100,000 more houses in Scotland today?

Mr. Campbell

I should add that there are no fewer than 40,000 public authority houses currently under consideration, so the public authorities are clearly pressing ahead vigorously.

Mr. Gourlay

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that last week he informed me that only 22,000 local authority houses were expected to be completed this year? According to the figures which were given today, he has said that something like 7,000 private houses will be built in 1964. Is he aware that in 1957, the last occasion on which the Government managed to reach the high figure of 28,000, only about 3,500 private houses were built and that in my constituency, in Kinghorn, where 48 private houses were built recently, no local authority houses were built for people in need? When will the Government so alter the subsidy structure that local authorities can build houses?

Mr. Campbell

I pointed out that the local authorities are building at a high rate and that a great number are now under construction. I am glad to note the increase in private enterprise building, which we also encourage. This is essential in order to accommodate the first-class management, scientists and technologists who are needed in industry in Scotland.

35. Mr. W. Hamilton

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what was the annual average of houses completed, as expressed in terms of apartments, for the two periods 1945–51 and 1958–63, respectively.

Mr. Campbell

Information available about houses provided by public authorities is in the form of tenders approved, not of houses completed. I shall, with permission, circulate in the OFFICIAL REPORT a table showing the average number of different house-sizes provided

Less than 2-apt. 2-apt. 3-apt. 4-apt. 5-apt. or more
Public Authorities* (Tenders approved) 165 130 5,097 14,419 1,547
Private Enterprise and Others† (Houses Completed) 1 315 779 159
Public Authorities* (Tenders Approved) 651 3,731 12,979 5,727 405
Private Enterprise and Others† (Houses Completed) 4 57 1,566 2,767 2,137
* Local Authorities, Scottish Special Housing Association, New Towns Development Corporations.
† Housing Associations (other than S.S.H.A.), Government Departments.

annually by all agencies for these two periods.

Mr. Hamilton

Why could not the hon. Gentleman give the two figures I asked for? I have sought to work them out myself and they show that the number of apartments provided in the first period was at least as great as in the second period. This reveals the stupidity and silliness of seeking to make comparisons in terms of houses built. Will not the hon. Gentleman consider putting into the Housing Return in future an additional table showing the number of apartments provided instead of the number of houses? Does not he recognise that, in the first period, the number of four and five-apartment houses provided was 58 per cent. and in the second 19 per cent.? Does not this make nonsense of talking about a house as if it were a homogeneous commodity?

Mr. Campbell

Public authorities are free to build the size of houses they need. Since the war, 45 per cent. of public authority houses have been of the four-apartment size or over. There is now a need for smaller houses. One category in particular which will benefit from this is the elderly. They need such houses. During the second of the two periods mentioned by the hon. Gentleman, 7,500 more houses per year were built.

Mr. Hamilton

In view of the unsatisfactory nature of the reply, I beg to give notice that I shall seek to raise this matter on the adjournment at the earliest possible opportunity.

Following are the figures: