HC Deb 22 December 1971 vol 828 c1489
4. Mr. William Hamilton

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland how many houses are expected to be completed in 1971; how many have been started since 1st January, 1971 to date; and how many are under construction.

Mr. Gordon Campbell

The relevant figures as at 30th September are given in the Housing Return for Scotland. 30th September, 1971. The figures for the whole year will not be known until we have the returns for the last quarter.

Mr. Hamilton

Is it not the case that the total completions will be down considerably in 1971 as compared with previous years and that the indications are that they will continue to decline? As one-quarter of the unemployed in Scotland are currently building trade workers, is not the crime compounded by the combination of these two facts?

Mr. Campbell

The number of completions in 1971 will have depended on the number of starts in 1969 and 1970. There may be some continuing turndown but, as I stated in the housing debate a few days ago, approvals are now turning upwards, so completions at some time to come should start rising again.

Mr. Grimond

The Secretary of State has been kind enough to write to me about the housing situation in Shetland. Will he bear in mind that we have a considerable chance now of increasing employment and even bringing back some population to the north of Scotland but that the housing situation is a handicap? Would he see whether approvals can be increased and exert pressure and bring what help he can to local authorities both to build new houses and to repair old ones?

Mr. Campbell

I am aware of the point and I shall do what I can to help.