HC Deb 23 April 1969 vol 782 cc460-1
24. Mr. Dewar

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland when he expects to receive the report of the Sidwell investigation into house building costs in Scotland.

Dr. Dickson Mabon

In the autumn of 1970.

Mr. Dewar

Will the Minister accept that it is thoroughly unsatisfactory that a Report into comparative house prices north and south of the Border should take three years at a time when the Building Societies Association's figures show that a new house in Scotland is anything up to £1,000 dearer than a comparable house in the North of England and the Midlands? Will he press for an interim Report on this important topic?

Dr. Mabon

I have a great deal of sympathy with my hon. Friend. I have discussed this matter with Professor Sidwell. He is commissioned to do a thorough Report and he is firm in the belief that he will not be able to complete it before the autumn of 1970. However, he issued a first interim Report in October last year, and I am assured that we shall get a further interim Report in October this year from which we shall seek to learn lessons.

Mr. Younger

Will the comprehensiveness of the Sidwell Report include a written assessment of the extra costs put on Scottish house building by numerous Government impositions such as S.E.T. and transport charges during the last few years?

Dr. Mabon

That remains to be seen, Professor Sidwell is an objective man who will seek to put into his Report all the genuine factors, apart from political factors, that there have been over the years.