HC Deb 25 July 1974 vol 877 cc1973-4

Lords Amendment: No. 5, in page 15, line 29, leave out from "area" to the end of line 31.

Mr. Millan

I beg to move, That this House doth agree with the Lords in the said amendment.

It may be convenient for the House if we take at the same time Lords Amendments Nos. 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10.

These are all drafting amendments. Unless hon. Members wish to raise any points on them it may be possible for them all to be put together.

Mr. David Steel (Roxburgh, Selkirk and Peebles)

Clauses 16 and 17 deal with the question of housing action areas. On Report a number of hon. Members, including myself, stressed the importance of the way in which local authorities set about creating housing action areas and the information they gave to the public. The Minister agreed with the points which were made and undertook that guidance would be given to local authorities by the Scottish Office.

In my surgery at the weekend I was visited by a young couple about to be married on Thursday. They brought with them a letter from a town clerk who stated—even before the Bill is passed—that the town council would designate a certain area in which they lived as a housing action area. Two weeks ago they received £1,200 by way of grant for bringing the house up to a tolerable standard. They were about to move into it when suddenly they received the town clerk's letter.

That underlines the need for clear guidance to be given by the Scottish Office on how local authorities should give information to those affected by housing action areas. The whole House accepted the assurance which the Minister gave on Report. I suspect that I am somewhat wide of the amendment. The Minister should take the opportunity of reasserting that some guidance will be given to local authorities on how they should convey information so as not to cause distress to those affected.

Mr. Millan

The hon. Gentleman is not simply wide of the amendment; he is talking about something entirely different. These are drafting amendments to take out superfluous words. I have already given assurances on a number of occasions. Any notices which have been sent out could not have been sent out under the Bill. When we issue guidance to authorities we shall take into account the need for clear notice to be given to those affected in housing action areas.

Question put and agreed to.

Subsequent Lords amendments agreed to.

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