HC Deb 17 November 1965 vol 720 cc1133-4
28. Mr. Edward M. Taylor

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland how many houses were completed in Scotland in the 10 months ended Ocotber 1965; and how many it is estimated will be completed in the year 1965.

Dr. Dickson Mabon

About 28,500 in the ten months and around 35,000 in the full year.

Mr. Taylor

Does not the hon. Gentleman appreciate that this means a fall in the house-building programme this year of over 2,000? Does he also recall stating on the 1st June that it was wrong to say that house building this year would be less than last? Why has this further forecast of his gone wrong?

Dr. Mabon

The hon. Gentleman is committing a grave error. He must read again what has been said. There are several factors, and we have always stated them in the House. The principal factor in the number of house completions this year—and he and his right hon. Friends cannot escape responsibility for that—was the dramatic fall in tender approvals during the period April-September, 1964. It is worthy of note that at the end of last September houses under construction in Scotland by all agencies totalled 50,554 —an all-time record.

Mr. G. Campbell

Why, then, was the hon. Gentleman's estimate in the summer of a total of 37,000 so wrong, considering that it has been reduced to 35,000?

Dr. Mabon

Because it has proved far too difficult to get over the initial errors for which the hon. Gentleman himself was primarily responsible, when he was in my position, by failing to see that the rate of tender approvals was at the level of the preceding first quarter as compared with the second and third quarters over which he presided in his final six months of office.

34. Mr. Hendry

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what is the number of houses being erected in Scotland by private enterprise at the latest convenient date; and what was the comparative number being erected on the corresponding date last year.

Dr. Dickson Mabon

At 30th September, 8,100 houses were under construction for private owners, compared with 7,132 a year earlier.

Mr. Hendry

I congratulate the hon. Gentleman on the success of his policy in encouraging private ownership. Is he aware that many hundreds of young couples who had set their hopes on being able to buy these houses now find themselves unable to do so because of the financial policies of his right hon. Friend the First Secretary? What does the hon. Gentleman intend to do about it?

Dr. Mabon

I much appreciate the natural enthusiasm which the hon. Gentleman shows for the success with which the Government are reaching their housing targets. There is no short-fall of requests by young people for private builders' houses. The total of 6,051 houses already built in the first nine months of this year compares with the 5,559 built in the last year of the previous Administration.

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