§ 21. Mr. Gourlay
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what was the total amount of interest paid by Kirkcaldy Town Council on its outstanding housing debt for the financial year 1970–71.
§ Mr. Gourlay
Is the hon. Gentleman aware that, at the same time, only about £226,000 of principal was repaid? In view of that, will he do a great service to all the people of Scotland by withdrawing the infamous Housing Bill and substituting a new one designed to remove this monstrous burden from the pockets of tenants of houses in Scotland? Is he aware that last year Scottish councils paid something like £87 million in interest? Will he consider my suggestion, therefore, and scrap the Bill?
§ Mr. Younger
The hon. Gentleman's remarks do not accord with the facts as they have occurred. The situation described in my original answer is due to the present system of housing finance, unchanged by the Bill currently being considered. The hon. Gentleman will know that interest rates have gone up in recent years. About half the rise in the case of Kirkcaldy is due to increasing interest rates. The other half is due to extra house building. The new housing subsidy scheme allows the cost of interest to be included in the housing expenditure subsidy, and this will insulate authorities from the effect of rapidly rising costs.