HC Deb 15 July 1965 vol 716 cc757-8
18. Mr. Jackson

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies what further steps Her Majesty's Government propose to take in order to ease the present housing situation in Gibraltar.

Mrs. White

To build more housing will of course cost more money. My right hon. Friend hopes to be able to inform the Gibraltar Government very soon of their allocation under the Overseas Development and Service Act. I understand that it is the intention of the Gibraltar Government that a substantial amount of this money should be used to finance more housing.

Mr. Jackson

Will my hon. Friend bear in mind the miserable housing conditions now affecting the people of Gibraltar, that there were 1,400 people on the waiting list before 500 more came in from the Campo area and that only 414 flats were designed to meet that list? Will she also bear in mind that one person has been on the list for 11 years and still has not enough points to qualify?

Mrs. White

What my hon. Friend says emphasises that the housing difficulties in Gibraltar are not entirely due to the recent restrictions but are longstanding and due to past neglect. We are hoping both to make further financial assistance available and also to arrange for technical advice to speed up the physical process of building.

Sir A. V. Harvey

In view of the difficult situation of Gibraltar, will the hon. Lady represent to the Government that this is the time to be extremely generous to Gibraltar in sustaining the morale of its people and giving them, within limits, all they ask for?

Mrs. White

"All they ask for" is a very tall order for anyone. We are discussing this matter next week with the Chief Minister and hope to be able to meet most of his requests.

Mr. David Steel

May I also appeal to the hon. Lady to be generous in this matter? Gibraltar has a very creditable record of spending £5½ million on rehousing half the population since the war, and a sum of £2 million would be required to rehouse priority cases without touching the refugees.

Mrs. White

I cannot accept the hon. Gentleman's figures, but I would be glad to discuss it with him later.

Mr. Dodds-Parker

In the circumstances, will the Government allow unrestricted immigration into this country from Gibraltar under the Commonwealth Immigrants Act?

Mrs. White

That is quite a different Question.