HC Deb 14 April 1965 vol 710 cc1374-5
2. Mr. Adam Hunter

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what plans he has for obtaining additional and up-to-date statistics concerning the housing problem.

Dr. Dickson Mabon

As I said on 24th February in reply to my hon. Friend the Member for Glasgow, Kelvingrove (Dr. Miller), my right hon. Friend has arranged for a sample survey of Scottish housing to be carried out in the early summer.

Mr. Hunter

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that house surveys cannot be properly taken until certain things are done? Is he aware that certain local authorities delay services, or defer them, for many reasons, one of which is that borough surveyor's and sanitary inspector's departments are suffering from a serious shortage of staff?

Dr. Mabon

My hon. Friend will be aware, if he remembers the Answer I gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Glasgow, Kelvingrove, that this survey will be carried out by the Social Survey Unit. Glasgow Corporation will be carrying out its own, and is equipped do so do. We are co-ordinating the surveys, and the particular problem to which my hon. Friend refers will not impede us in coming to a firm conclusion on the results of these surveys in the autumn.

Mr. Edward M. Taylor

Does the Minister agree that one of the most serious housing problems in Scotland is the difficulty of getting loans for house purchase?

Mr. Speaker

Order. That is a different question.

Mr. Manuel

Will my hon. Friend make certain that the survey will cover overcrowding in municipal houses as well as ordinary private rented dwellings?

Dr. Mabon

Yes, Sir. We hope that the survey will be comprehensive in every way.

Mr. Hector Hughes

If the Minister publishes any set of statistics such as those indicated in the Question, will he be careful to distinguish between those backward areas which have not provided sufficient houses and those, on the other hand, which are shining examples of progress, like the city of Aberdeen?

Dr. Mabon

When the report is published it will certainly have an analysis of figures. I have no doubt that these matters will become very much apparent, including the enormous success of the city of Aberdeen.

Sir Harmar Nicholls

On a point of Order. I was wondering why questions could not be answered on matters to do with house purchase, when it is the overall housing problem that is included in the Question.

Mr. Speaker

The hon. Member's question was related to loans for house purchase. I thought that that was a different question from statistics. It is possible to borrow funds, but not statistics—at least, not often. That is the distinction.