HC Deb 13 January 1971 vol 809 cc44-5
16. Mr. Rankin

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what reply he has now received from local authorities in regard to his inquiry about outstanding housing needs in Scotland; and how many houses were completed in the last quarter of 1970.

Mr. Gordon Campbell

So far I have received replies from 141 local authorities in response to my request for information about their housing lists and housing needs, and these are being analysed. Provisionally, about 10,500 houses were completed in the last quarter of 1970.

Mr. Rankin

Will the Secretary of State say how the figure for 1970 compares with that for 1969? Will he also say why the previous analyses which were made of Glasgow's housing needs, particularly those in my division of Govan, were not utilised in the inquiries which he has instituted? This would have helped to speed up the solution to the abominable housing conditions in Glasgow.

Mr. Campbell

The figures for December can be only provisional, and there is another Question on the first point put by the hon. Gentleman. It looks as though in 1970 there is likely to have been a record for allocations of houses in Glasgow and also a record for improvements of older housing. We are aiming at the best combination of such programmes with house building, to provide housing where and in the form in which it is most needed.

Dr. Dickson Mabon

Can we take it from what the Secretary of State has said about 1970 being another record year—thanks to the last Labour Government—that there will be the same devotion to the achievement of records as the Under-Secretary of State promised on the last day of the Session before Christmas, namely, a target of 50,000? Will he include that in his White Paper?

Mr. Campbell

No such target was given in my hearing, and that will no doubt be looked up in the OFFICIAL REPORT. There was a considerable drop in approvals and starts in house building about a year before we took office. This may have been a positive policy by right hon. and hon. Gentlemen opposite. But we certainly regard as important the other parts of the housing programme, namely, slum clearance, improvements and allocation of houses, as well as house building.