HC Deb 14 March 1979 vol 964 cc441-3
13. Mr. Gourlay

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what is the total capital expenditure being allocated for housing to local authorities in 1979–80.

Mr. Hugh D. Brown

Provisional allocations amounting to £248 million, based on November 1978 prices, were given to local authorities on 14 February. These will be updated to 1979–80 prices at the end of March.

Mr. Gourlay

Is the Minister aware that Kirkcaldy district council's share of that allocation will allow it to complete only about 50 per cent. of its projected housing in this financial year? Will he therefore give an assurance that the Glebe Park development, which he visited last November, will not be delayed by the lack of financial provision?

Mr. Brown

I can give a general assurance that, as has happened this year, there will be supplementary allowances within the total amount in the kitty. I have no reason to doubt that Kirkcaldy will get the same sympathetic consideration that other authorities have received, since the authority is proceeding with a worthwhile improvement scheme.

Mr. Younger

Will the Minister confirm that last year, under a Labour Government, housing completions in Scotland were the lowest since 1951? Will he tell us how that ties in with the pledge given by the Labour Party at the last general election that it would reverse the disastrous rundown in house building?

Mr. Brown

That does not arise out of the question. There is no restriction on new house building in Scotland. It is now being shown that local authorities, when submitting housing plans, want to switch more of their resources to modernisation and improvement. The figures are available for anybody to see. If any hon. Members wants to submit, through his authority, a scheme for new house building it will be given sympathetic consideration.

Dr. Bray

Can my hon. Friend say whether the housing plans submitted by district councils have been fully examined by his Department? Can he give an assurance that the continuity of housing modernisation—which is so necessary and which is embodied in these plans—will be honoured by his Department in future?

Mr. Brown

Yes, in general terms I can give that assurance. What I am trying to say, if I have not made it clear already, is that the bids made by local authorities collectively far outweigh anything that we have in the kitty, or the total amount that they spend in a year. That is the argument which I imagine will go on whether or not I am in this job, and whatever Government are in power.

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