HC Deb 05 February 1969 vol 777 cc380-1
6. Mr. Galbraith

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what is the average rent for council houses in Scotland; and by how much it is lower than the economic rent as a result of subsidies from the Treasury or the rates.

Dr. Mabon

In 1966–67, the last year for which the information is at present available, rents averaged about £45, and the Government and rate fund contributions about £70.

Mr. Galbraith

With this indiscriminate help on such a large scale, how does the hon. Gentleman expect to bring private house building up to the same level as in England and Wales? Would it not be better if he adopted the famous Socialist principle—"From each according to his ability"—in the payment of rent?

Dr. Mabon

"And to each according to his need." [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."] we are all Socialists now. It is important that we have a rent rebate system, and the Government are seeking to encourage this with the local authorities, going hand in hand with reasonable rents as well. The hon. Gentleman will be interested to know that the £70 divides itself into £28 and £42—£28 from subsidy and £42 from the rates. He will know also that the local authority associations in Scotland are being consulted about the long-term principles for fixing local authority rents which were suggested in the Report of the Prices and Incomes Board.

Mr. Manuel

Is my hon. Friend aware that this continual denigration of council house tenants and criticisms about the rents they pay is not a good thing for Scotland, and that while we recognise that we want reasonable rents, we must remember that owner-occupiers buying houses are receiving far more by way of relief from Income Tax than council tenants do in subsidy?

Dr. Mabon


Mr. Younger

Will the Minister bear in mind that the rents of houses of which the Secretary of State is the landlord—through the Scottish Special Housing Association and the New Town Corporations—are on the high side, and higher than local authority ones?

Dr. Mabon

I do not think the hon. Member is quite right in saying that the Secretary of State is the landlord. The Scottish Special Housing Association and the Development Corporations are the landlords.