HC Deb 25 November 1964 vol 702 cc1274-5
38. Mr. William Hamilton

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what evidence he has of exploitation in house rents in Scotland; and what steps he intends to take to eradicate this.

Mrs. Judith Hart

Individual cases of high rents for private rented accommodation have come to notice. My right hon. Friend would welcome any further evidence from hon. Members about such cases. The Protection from Eviction Bill deals with the immediate problem of security of tenure; a second Bill will be introduced as soon as possible after the Christmas adjournment to restore rent control.

Mr. Hamilton

Did my hon. Friend not notice during the Election campaign, and indeed before it, that there was the equivalent of Rachmanism operating in Glasgow and in other parts of Scotland? Has any evidence of that come to hand in the Scottish Office, and, if so, what immediate action are the Government proposing to take to stop this kind of exploitation?

Mrs. Hart

We recognise that there is a considerable difference between the reports in the Press and actual specific examples coming to hand. That is why my right hon. Friend will welcome all the concrete examples, of which there have been a great many, from my hon. Friends in their own constituencies during the election campaign. I can assure my hon. Friend that my right hon. Friend and the Minister of Housing and Local Government regard this as one of the most urgent problems for their immediate attention.

Mr. Galbraith

Could the hon. Lady say anything about the rents of houses which are kept unreasonably low because rates are kept unreasonably high?

Mrs. Hart

It appears that on the average, landlords in Scotland are charging rents from about 25 per cent. to 50 per cent. above the gross annual value of the houses.

Mr. Galbraith

But does that apply to houses when local authorities are the landlords?