HC Deb 24 October 1979 vol 972 cc398-400
4. Mr. Dewar

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will make a statement about the redevelopment of the peripheral housing schemes in Glasgow; and if he will make available to Glasgow district council extra financial support to combat deprivation in these areas.

Mr. Rifkind

Glasgow district council is working with Strathclyde regional council to develop the comprehensive framework of action identified as needed for the peripheral housing estates in the report "Glasgow—Implications of Population Changes to 1983". The district council's capital expenditure allocations already take account of the specific problems of the city as a whole, and it is for the council to determine its spending priorities within them.

Mr. Dewar

Does the Minister accept that there will be widespread cynicism and dismay at the suggestion that the present allocation of capital spending takes account of the problems of Glasgow? Is he aware that even now, as a result of the dramatic and drastic cuts in capital spending programmes enforced by the Government, the Glasgow district council is being forced to scrap much-needed rehabilitation and modernisation programmes in the peripheral schemes? That would totally destroy the morale of people who were expecting early action and have worked for a long time to have that action organised. Will the Minister give us some hope about the peripheral schemes? Will he please ensure that the money is forthcoming?

Mr. Rifkind

The hon. Gentleman should be aware, in representing a Glasgow constituency, that the needs of the city are, and have been for some time, recognised by successive Governments as deserving particular support. Glasgow receives, and will continue to receive, over a quarter of the total housing allocation to local authorities. Any hon. Member who is being reasonable about the matter will accept that that is a proper recognition of Glasgow's requirements.

Mr. Henderson

Does my hon. Friend agree that the only cause for real dismay is the fact that the Labour Party once again has obtained control over Glasgow's affairs for the future?

Mr. Rifkind

I agree with my hon. Friend. It was significant, and an honourable and acceptable matter, that when the Conservative administration of Glasgow finally had to resign it was on the basis of trying to do the best deal for the public. The Labour Party will not be able to offer that.

Mr. Maxton

Is the Minister aware that his statements today will not only dismay residents and tenants in the peripheral housing schemes but also anger them? There is considerable anger among the tenants of these schemes that environmental improvement schemes that have been on the ground for some time are now under threat of being axed by the Glasgow district council owing to the expenditure cuts being carried out and forced on them by the Government?

Mr. Rifkind

I disagree. The problem was caused by the previous Government making commitments when they had not provided the resources to meet them.