HC Deb 21 February 1973 vol 851 cc469-70
24. Mr. Sproat

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will list those local authorities still refusing to implement the Housing Finance Act.

Mr. Gordon Campbell

Alloa, Clyde-hank, Cowdenbeath, Cumbernauld and Saltcoats.

Mr. Sproat

Is it not a fact that a recent survey undertaken by Glasgow Corporation showed that of all its municipal tenants receiving rent rebates 83 per cent. would now receive more with the higher needs allowances under the Government scheme than previously? Is not that even more true of Clydebank and the other places which my right hon. Friend has mentioned? Unless Clydebank councillors make up their minds quickly to pay the fine, has not the time come for my right hon. Friend to exercise his authority and take over the running of the housing department as the law requires?

Mr. Campbell

Glasgow is in fact carrying out the Act. But I saw the report in the Glasgow Herald indicating that estimates by Glasgow Corporation have shown that 83 per cent. of tenants at present receiving rebate will be better off when the new needs allowance comes into operation at the end of April. As regards Clydebank, I repeat that the council there is taking advantage of its tenants. For example, a family with two children and an income of £20 a week now pay a rent of £1.35. Under the Act that same family would have to pay only 6p a week.

Mr. Hugh D. Brown

Does the right hon. Gentleman appreciate that many hon. Members on the Opposition benches reckon that it takes great political courage on the part of Labour-controlled authorities to implement an objectionable Tory housing Act? Recognising that, would not it be better if the right hon. Gentleman used the procedure, since he wants to prove to the community the benefits of the Act, to take over these housing powers? Would not that be better than using court procedures resulting in fines and the possibility of martyrdom?

Mr. Campbell

I agree that for those whose political views are opposed to some of the provisions of the Act it requires courage to carry it out. I agree that those people are to be commended rather than those who are failing to carry out the law.

The hon. Gentleman asked about the procedures. I have followed meticulously as firmly and quickly as I can the procedures laid down in the 1947 Act. They require at this stage the matter to go before the court. That is where it is in the case of Clydebank.