HC Deb 21 December 1966 vol 738 cc1391-2
8. Mr. Edward M. Taylor

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland how many houses he estimates will be completed in 1966.

The Under-Secretary of State for Scotland (Dr. J. Dickson Mahon)

I cannot give a precise figure.

Mr. Taylor

Can the hon. Gentleman explain how it was that in March of this year, only nine months ago, the Government and all hon. Gentlemen opposite were able to say almost precisely that the figure of 40,000 would certainly be exceeded? How can the hon. Gentleman justify that situation when, during the last three months, the number of unemployed building workers in Scotland has risen by more than 3,000?

Dr. Mabon

There are nine days to go to the end of the year, since no self-respecting person in Scotland works on Hogmanay, and it would be foolish to try to give a precise figure at this stage. Public sector completions are reported to us monthly. Private sector completions are reported to us quarterly. The last return which we received was in September. I have discussed this with the builders, and in future they will report monthly. I welcome this, because we shall then be in a better position to give these figures earlier.

Mr. Rankin

Will my hon. Friend assure us that he is not depending on Santa Claus?

Dr. Mabon

No, Sir.

Mr. G. Campbell

With only nine days to go, can the hon. Gentleman say whether the figure of 40,000, Which was given in the Scottish Labour Party election manifesto, Election Special, will be reached?

Dr. Mabon

We shall certainly beat ten years of Conservative rule.