HC Deb 16 July 1969 vol 787 cc597-9
25. Mr. Edward M. Taylor

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland how many houses have been started and completed, respectively, in Scotland in the first six months of 1969; and what were the comparable figures for the first six months of 1968.

Dr. Dickson Mabon

The precise figures will not be available until later this month. In the corresponding period last year 21,509 were started and 18,573 completed.

Mr. Taylor

Would the hon. Gentleman agree that the figures for starts and for completions will be down, and, bearing in mind the figure for starts so far this year, when does he think that his specific pledge of 50,000 houses by 1970 will be achieved?

Dr. Mabon

The hon. Gentleman is terribly out of date. I cannot give precise figures. When he sees the figures for the second quarter, he will find a substantial improvement on the first quarter, bringing us very close to the figures for 1968, a record year. We shall expect from him his usual congratulatory telegram praising the Government for their superior housing record over that of the Conservatives.

Mr. Buchanan-Smith

Would not the hon. Gentleman agree that the alarming thing about the housing figures is the much bigger proportional fall in starts than completions compared with last year? Does not this make his target for 1970 an absolute dead duck?

Dr. Mabon

The hon. Gentleman has not seen the figures for the second quarter, so how can he make these assertions? We have constantly warned him not to calculate performance on one quarter. I expect him also to send a telegram to us.

39. Mr. James Hamilton

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what was the total value of the standard improvement grant and the discretionary grant, respectively, over the past four years in Lanarkshire County Council.

Dr. Dickson Mabon

With permission, I will circulate the figures in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Mr. Hamilton

Obviously I do not know what the figures are. Will my hon. Friend give thought and consideration to enlarging this scheme whereby other householders who do not qualify at present could come into it and, as it were, save some of the houses which are badly needed in Lanarkshire?

Dr. Mabon

My hon. Friend will be proud to know that Lanarkshire County Council on standard grant has more than doubled the grants paid in 1965 and discretionary grants over the last three months were 15 per cent. up. As he knows, we debated the Housing (Scotland) Bill recently, and we shall be issuing a guide book on the matter.

Following are the figures:

Standard Grant (amounts paid) £ Discretionary Grant (amounts approved) £
1965 2,782 11,720
1966 5,935 21,660
1967 4,488 18,889
1968 6,719 13,757

41. Mr. Hannan

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland how many houses for sale have been built in Glasgow for each of the last three years.

Dr. Dickson Mabon

57, 93 and 77 respectively.

Mr. Hannan

Do not those figures demonstrate the great shortage of land for building within the City of Glasgow? Does this not emphasise the need for Glasgow Corporation to move and agree in the matter of the Erskine development for both private and public building?

Dr. Mabon

Yes, I quite agree with my hon. Friend, and I hope that the corporation will allow us to get on with the development in Erskine.

Mr. Galbraith

On the availability of land, does not the hon. Gentleman agree that the very low level of rents discourages people from providing houses for themselves?

Dr. Mabon

If the hon. Member acquainted himself with present-day facts about housing in Scotland he would know that one of the complaints of private developers in Scotland is lack of land and that my hon. Friend the Member for Glasgow, Maryhill (Mr. Hannan) was on a good point when he spoke about land at Erskine because there is land for 4,000 houses there.

Mr. Hugh D. Brown

Will my hon. Friend institute inquiries into the social problems which spring from lack of facilities to provide land for owner-occupation housing?

Dr. Mabon

We have much evidence about this already before the Scottish Housing Advisory Committee. We want to see an increase in house building in both the private and the public sectors.