HC Deb 03 July 1968 vol 767 cc1479-81
16. Mr. Edward M. Taylor

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland when he estimates that all homes suffering from storm damage in Glasgow will be wind and watertight.

Dr. Dickson Mabon

Glasgow Corporation aims to have all roofs adequately repaired by the end of September, and we are giving it all possible help.

Mr. Taylor

Is the Minister aware that there was a serious storm, approaching a monsoon, in Glasgow yesterday which did a great deal of damage? Can he give any indication of the amount of damage done and the extent to which it will set back the repair work?

Dr. Mabon

No, Sir. I do not have sufficient details at present. As the hon. Gentleman knows, I am in active touch —[Interruption.]—it is impossible for me to look after everything all at once. I am waiting for the report from Glasgow. The monsoon did not affect only Glasgow. I wish that the hon. Gentleman realised that Scotland consists of more than Glasgow. We must get all the reports in before my right hon. Friend can decide whether a statement should be made to the House. I shall not answer questions off the cuff. Repair workers are having to go on to the roofs many times in the city and elsewhere to deal with such temporary setbacks. I shall know the full measure of the problem when we have our next meeting. I have been having regular meetings with the Corporation almost every week since the beginning of January.

Mr. Galbraith

Is the Minister aware that if the estimate of having all houses finished by September turns out to be optimistic, and so houses are not wind-and water-proof by the beginning of the winter, feeling in Glasgow will be very high? In the coming months, will he apply himself to the progress made in repairs?

Dr. Mabon

I shall continue to do what I have been doing for the past six months—trying as hard as I can to deal with the damage, not only in Glasgow but in the rest of Scotland. Of public sector houses damaged, 85 per cent. have been repaired, and 50 per cent. of private sector houses damaged have been repaired. If the hon. Gentleman is tempted to make a party point of this, he should consider the activities of some landlords.

Mr. James Hamilton

Is my hon. Friend aware that much of the damage was the result of bad landlords in the past? Is he aware that in my constituency of Bothwell, all the houses have been made wind- and water-proof, and my constituents are very grateful to the Government for their efforts?

Dr. Mabon

I am much obliged to my hon. Friend. Hon. Members should pay attention to the fact that many landlords are trying to get repairs carried out by the Government or the local authority which should have been done before the storm.

Mr. Noble

Does not the Minister agree that if there has been a very serious storm in Glasgow last night, while we do not expect him to give us full details, we do not accept that he should not say something off the cuff? If there is a serious situation, will he make a statement tomorrow?

Dr. Mabon

If the situation is such as to merit a statement tomorrow, my right hon. Friend will consider it. We are in daily touch with the Corporation, and so far have not had an adverse report on this.

Mr. Hannan

Will my hon. Friend confirm that these houses have been letting in rain and storms for a long time, long before the storm, and that it is most fortuitous that at least a storm yesterday gave hon. Members opposite reasons to ask supplementary questions?

Dr. Mabon

If we finish repairing properties in Glasgow by the end of September, the stock of houses in Glasgow will be in better repair than they have been in for the past 40 years.

Forward to