HC Deb 06 December 1967 vol 755 cc1443-4
40. Mr. Galbraith

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland when he intends to apply the fair rent machinery contained in the 1965 Act to houses which still remain controlled under the Rent Act, 1957.

Dr. Dickson Mabon

My right hon. Friend has no immediate plans for extending rent regulation to controlled houses.

Mr. Galbraith

How much longer is the hon. Member going to act like an ostrich? Surely it is clear that if some rents are too high other may be too low? It is impossible to deal with this problem if there is not enough money coming in to keep property repaired. Will not the hon. Gentleman consider the question from a practical point of view instead of a doctrinaire one?

Dr. Mabon

That is not a fair comment. We are dealing with 8,000 applications under the present Act, which was passed in 1965. We are trying to regroup our rent offices in order to get a balance, and so that they work to full capacity. We do not want more civil servants. I thought that both sides of the House were agreed on that. If so, we must wait until we can process the present work before we go on to the later stages.

Mr. Dewar

Will my hon. Friend confirm that the objection is only to the mechanical difficulty of dealing with cases that there is no objection in principle to the extension?

Dr. Mabon

I am glad to confirm that, but there are other factors which influence the situation, depending on the timing. It does not lie in the mouths of hon. Members opposite to criticise us for what they did not do in 15 years.

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