HC Deb 22 April 1970 vol 800 cc409-11
24. Mr. Adam Hunter

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what estimate he has made of the average weekly increase in council house rents needed for existing dwellings, in shillings, on the basis that housing subsidies in Scotland as a whole are abolished, excepting old people's accommodation; and what is the estimated weekly increase needed to offset the subsidy on dwellings under construction on 1st January, 1970.

Dr. Dickson Mabon

For existing houses about 12s. a week, and for houses under construction on 1st January about 3s. a week on all local authority houses; but the increase in a particular area or for a particular tenant might differ widely from the average.

Mr. Hunter

Does not my hon. Friend agree that if the policies of the Opposition on housing subsidies were ever implemented council house tenants would be faced with intolerable financial burdens in future?

Dr. Mabon

Yes, I do very much, and there is an obligation on the Opposition to make their policies quite clear.

Mr. Buchanan-Smith

Surely the Minister of State realises that the whole tenor of that supplementary question is based on a pure hypothesis? Would he not agree that the best way to spend money on housing is to spend more on those in need and to help them more than is being done at the moment?

Dr. Mabon

These may be impure policies of the Opposition, but hardly pure ones. The hon. Member should read the leader of the Progressive Conservative Alliance's speech to see once again how his policies are being taken as a basis for the view that it is the intention of the Opposition, if ever they get power, to try to alter these subsidies in the adverse way reflected by this Question.

Mr. Gordon Campbell

Is the Minister of State aware that what is in this Question is unrelated to the policy of any known political party? Is the Minister now taking the opportunity of again ringing a doorbell and running away?

Dr. Mabon

My objection is not to ringing doorbells but to finding them, for there are 3,000 short in Erskine and we would like to have more houses there. The Opposition have suggested reforms in housing finance which they have spelled out to their supporters to such an extent that they believe various things will happen, as reflected adversely in my hon. Friend's Question.