HC Deb 24 February 1965 vol 707 cc379-81
18. Mr. Bruce-Gardyne

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether he is satisfied with the working of the Glasgow overspill agreement system; and if he will make a statement.

42. Mr. Buchanan

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will make a statement on the progress of Glasgow's overspill agreements; how many families have been rehoused; and by what number this has exceeded or fallen short of the estimates.

44. Mr. McInnes

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland how many families have been exported from Glasgow to new towns and to local authority areas since 1958 under overspill agreements.

59. Mr. Malcolm MacPherson

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will make a statement on the working of the overspill agreement so far as Glasgow is concerned; and what steps he intends to take to expedite its working.

60. Mr. Garrow

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what have been the results to date of the working of the. Glasgow overspill agreement; and if he is satisfied with these results.

Dr. Dickson Mabon

At the end of 1964 about 12,000 families, comprising almost 50,000 people, had been rehoused under the overspill arrangements. The review of the Glasgow development plan approved last spring assessed overspill needs at 60,000 families over a period of 20 years. An output of 3,559 houses was achieved last year, and I hope that we can do better in future.

Mr. Bruce-Gardyne

Is the hon. Member aware that to date most of the movement in overspill has been of persons and not of industries, and that as a result of this a situation has arisen which is liable to lead to redundancy in times of stringency such as we seem to be heading for under this Government? Has the hon. Member's attention been drawn to a recent statement of the Lord Provost of Glasgow offering inducements to workers to return to work in indusstry? Does not this conflict with the whole purpose of the overspill scheme?

Dr. Mabon

There is a great deal of sense in what the hon. Member says. The previous overspill arrangements were constructed by the party opposite, based on the concept of industrial overspill. It has been shown—without wishing to deprecate the achievements, particularly of last year—that while this has worked satisfactorily to some extent it has by no means made the major contribution to the problem which is vital if we are to solve Glasgow's housing position. Accordingly, my right hon. Friend is engaged in the most intense review and discussions of this matter, and we hope to propose more radical solutions as soon as these are complete.

Mr. Buchanan

I know that my hon. Friend is aware of the importance of the overspill agreement towards achieving a solution to the housing problem of Glasgow, and that it is necessary to give Glasgow the elbow room necessary for development. I hope that he will bear in mind the importance of industrial expansion, a fact which the party opposite forgot during their 13 years of office.

Dr. Mabon

As always, my hon. Friend is right on the ball.

Mr. McInnes

Is my hon. Friend aware that in 1957 the then Under Secretary of State—the present Lord Craigton—indicated this his Government would build 3,500 houses a year in the next 10 years? They actually built 1,200 a year, which is a miserable and shocking record, in view of the extent of the problem.

Dr. Mabon

The criticisms of my hon. Friend are well known in the House and are accepted by my right hon. Friend and his colleagues. I can assure my hon. Friend that it is because of this feeling of dissatisfaction that we are proceeding to look into the matter afresh, with a view to taking much more energetic steps—steps which were not taken during the last 13 years.

Miss Harvie Anderson

Can the Minister assure us that adequate educational facilities have been provided in the receiving areas, and that this will not cut across the existing building programmes of the areas concerned?

Dr. Mabon

That is an important but somewhat different question. Perhaps the hon. Lady will be good enough to put down a Question on the matter.

Mr. Galbraith

As one of the reasons why these schemes may not be working as well as they might be is the unreasonably low rents in Glasgow, which deter people from leaving to go to other areas, will the Minister use the powers which exist in the 1962 Housing Act to force Glasgow to raise rents, thereby encouraging people to move to other areas?

Dr. Mabon

The hon. Member is quite wrong. I am surprised that he, with his experience in the Scottish Office, is not aware of this. If he goes round any towns which are receiving areas he will find, as my hon. Friend the Member for Glasgow, Springburn (Mr. Buchanan) said, that it was the failure of the previous Government to bring industry to Scotland which has prevented their taking in more families from Glasgow, because there are no jobs for them.