HC Deb 02 December 1970 vol 807 cc1256-7
2. Mr. Sillars

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will convene a special meeting of Scottish local authorities to discuss means of overcoming the Scottish housing problem.

Mr. Gordon Campbell

I will shortly be discussing with the local authority associations our proposals for the reform of housing finance, which are basic to the solution of Scotland's housing problems. Meanwhile, my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State for Development is meeting a number of individual authorities to discuss their local problems.

Mr. Sillars

While thanking the right hon. Gentleman for that reply, may I remind him of the Prime Minister's promise that his Ministers would deal openly and honestly with the House of Commons? Will the right hon. Gentleman tell us clearly whether his new housing support policy will increase, decrease or retain the house building figures in Scotland?

Mr. Campbell

As I have said before in this House, I do not intend to attempt to foretell precisely what the figures will be in the future. I thought that hon. Members opposite had learend a lesson about that. As for the Prime Minister's words, how the hon. Gentleman himself could have spoken the nonsense which he is reported to have uttered at Cumnock last weekend I do not know. If he thinks that we are planning an election in the spring, he will believe anything.

Mr. Ross

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that I found the first sentence of his reply rather familiar? The housing problems of Scotland cannot be satisfactorily tackled until housing finance is put on a realistic basis. That is what his party said in their Housing White Paper of 1961, and thereafter the housing completions in Scotland fell to the lowest ever. When is the right hon. Gentleman going to come clean with the House and tell us what is his target for house building in Scotland?

Mr. Campbell

It is incredible that the right hon. Gentleman, of all Members, should ask a question about targets when he and his party failed abjectly to meet the target of 50,000 houses a year in Scotland by 1970 or the target for Britain.