HC Deb 04 August 1971 vol 822 cc1551-2
3. Mr. Costain

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what action he has taken to increase the proportion of home ownership in Scotland; and whether he will make a statement.

Mr. Gordon Campbell

We have abolished betterment levy and the Land Commission and we have halved selective employment tax. We have widened the scope of the option mortgage scheme and reached agreement with the building societies that they should extend their lending arrangements. We have removed the limit on local authority mortgage lending and have told authorities that they are free to sell council houses.

Mr. Costain

I thank my right hon. Friend for that Answer. Does he appreciate that the percentage of owner-occupied houses in Scotland is 25 per cent. compared with 50 per cent. in England, 53 per cent. in Wales and 55 per cent. in Czechoslovakia? Does he appreciate that the action which he has taken will do much to stimulate house ownership and help to relieve unemployment? Has his attention been drawn to the Report produced by the then Minister of Public Building and Works in 1963 on the Production of Building Components in Shipyards? Does that Report help the shipyard order position?

Mr. Speaker

Order. The Minister is not responsible for housing in Czechoslovakia.

Mr. Campbell

I am well aware of the contribution which the private sector, in addition to the public sector, can make to housing in Scotland. I am also aware of the survey on housing in Scotland carried out by Professor Cullingworth in which he indicated that the proportion of home ownership in Scotland was lower than anywhere else west of the Soviet Union.

Mr. Small

Will the right hon. Gentleman consider giving public authorities the power to build houses for home ownership and for sale?

Mr. Campbell

We have already given local authorities guidance on and approval for the sale of council houses in certain circumstances. That is what we are concentrating on now.