HC Deb 21 February 1973 vol 851 cc447-8
6. Mr. MacArthur

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland how many local authority housing approvals were given in 1969, 1970, 1971 and 1972.

Mr. Younger

The numbers are 26,806 in 1969, 17,061 in 1970, 19,376 in 1971 and 23,489 in 1972.

Mr. MacArthur

I congratulate my hon. Friend on reversing the appalling trend of a few years ago. Will he complete the picture by telling the House how many houses have been improved with improvement grants and how many have been built privately?

Mr. Younger

I am grateful to my hon. Friend. It is indeed satisfactory that we have at last reversed the falling trend which was causing great concern. My hon. Friend will be glad to know that the private house completion programme was at its highest level at 11,835 last year and that in 1972 no fewer than 49,000 houses were given approval for improvements.

Mr. Lawson

The figure for the early part of 1972 must have been highly inflated because of the special inducements in the 1972 Act. What was the rate of approvals during the second half of 1972?

Mr. Younger

I shall be glad to get those figures for the hon. Gentleman. He is right to say that the special provisions of the Housing Finance Act attracted a large number of authorities to put in submissions quickly, as we intended they should. What is important is that submissions were put in and that councils are getting down to working upon improving houses.

Mr. Ross

Surely the Under-Secretary is aware that he has already given the figure of the number of houses submitted for approval by local authorities in the fourth quarter of 1972 and that it dropped to the lowest ever at 1,056. What Scotland is concerned about is a steady attack upon vile housing conditions, but we are not getting such an attack from the Government.

Mr. Younger

I do not agree with the right hon. Gentleman. Local authorities know that they have every encouragement—financial and in every respect—from the Government to build as many houses as they can for their needs. If the right hon. Gentleman knows of any authorities which are being held back by the present Government's policies, he will no doubt let me know; but there are not any.

Mr. Wolrige-Gordon

Does my hon. Friend agree that in this sector, as in every other, we must do much better than simply reverse the deplorable record of the previous Government?

Mr. Younger

I agree. It is important that we provide homes of a more modern standard for the people of Scotland. There are various ways of doing this—local authorities, the Scottish Special Housing Association, private building and improvements. We are tackling every one of these categories and are having a considerable measure of success in putting matters right.

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