§ 26. Mr. William Hamilton
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will make a statement on the progress being made with the house building programme.
§ 33. Mr. G. Campbell
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether he has yet received the result of his special inquiry into the reasons for recent setbacks in the Scottish housing programme.
§ 56. Mr. Rankin
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if his recent meeting with the conveners of local authority housing committees has enabled him to identify the difficulties which are impeding progress in house building and what steps he is taking to speed up the output of houses.
§ Mr. Ross
The meetings my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State has had with housing authority conveners have revealed that the recent low level of approvals and starts was no more than a temporary phase. The progress they expect to achieve in the coming months should ensure that the numbers of houses approved and started in the full year will be satisfactory.
§ Mr. Hamilton
Can my right hon. Friend give to the House now the May figures and say whether those figures justify the girlish hysteria that came from the other side of the House in the recent debate on housing, based on one quarter's figures?
§ Mr. G. Campbell
Is the right hon. Gentleman taking any urgent action in view of the extremely bad figures for April?
§ Mr. Rankin
Referring to Question No. 56, could my right hon. Friend say whether any attempt was made to identify the causes which were impeding progress, and can he assure us that these have been completely removed?
§ Mr. Ross
As to the causes, one was the weather, and, although I cannot make any promise about it, I hope that cause has been removed. There certainly has been some improvement. There arises the question of availability of land which in some areas is scarce. We have taken steps to ensure that we shall know well in advance what the demands in Scotland will be, and that is why we have undertaken these five year programmes. There are some indications of pressure on the planning staffs of local authorities. It may be that they have been held up because we are concentrating on five year plans. There is some indication that in some of the finishing trades there may be difficulty, and we are taking this matter up with the building industry and with the National Building Agency.