HC Deb 28 July 1982 vol 28 cc1186-8

Lords amendment: No. 7, after clause 47, insert:

"E.—(1) After section 10A of the Housing (Scotland) Act 1974 there shall be inserted the following section—

'Grants for fire escapes for houses in multiple occupation.

10B.—(1) Subject to the provisions of this section, where a local authority have served on any person, other than a public body, a notice under section 107 of the Housing (Scotland) Act 1966 (which empowers a local authority to require the provision of a means of escape from fire in a house in multiple occupation) they shall make a grant to that person in respect of—

  1. (a) the works specified in the notice; and
  2. (b) any other works required in connection with the works so specified,
if an application for such grant is made by him in accordance with the provisions of this section and approved by the local authority.

(2) A local authority shall not approve an application under this section unless they are satisfied that at the time of completion of the works to which the application relates the house will be in reasonable repair (disregarding the state of internal decorative repair) having regard to its age, character and location.

(3) Where a local authority approve an application under this section they shall determine the maximum amount of expenses which they think proper to be incurred for the relevant works; but so much of such amount as relates to works referred to in—

  1. (a) paragraph (a) of subsection (1) above shall not exceed £6,750 or such other amount as may be prescribed;
  2. (b) paragraph (b) of that subsection shall not exceed £2,500 or such other amount as may be prescribed.

(4) Subject to subsection (5) below, the amount of grant payable under subsection (1) above in relation to any application shall be 75 per cent. of the maximum amount determined under subsection (3) above in relation thereto or such other percentage of that maximum amount as may be prescribed.

(5) If, in any case, it appears to the local authority by whom the application is approved that the applicant will not without undue hardship be able to finance the cost of so much of the work as is not met by the grant, they may, as regards that case, increase the percentage referred to in subsection (4) above to such percentage, not exceeding 90 per cent., as they think fit.

(6) Sections 2 and 4 to 10 of this Act (other than section 4(3)(b), section 5(1), (1A), (3), (3A), (5) and (6) and section 7) shall apply to an application for a grant under subsection (1) above as they apply to an application for an improvement grant, except that for the purposes of such application the reference to "section 5(1) or, as the case may be, 7(4)"in section 6(1)(b) shall be construed as a reference to subsection (4) or, as the case may be, (5) of this section.

(7) In subsection (1) above "public body" means a regional, islands or district council or such other body as the Secretary of State may by order specify.".

(2) In subsection (1) of section 107 of the Housing (Scotland) Act 1966 at the end there shall be added the words"; and it shall serve a notice under the foregoing provisions of this subsection if such house is of such description or occupied in such manner as the Secretary of State may, with the consent of the Treasury, specify by order a draft of which has been approved by the Commons House of Parliament."."

Mr. Allan Stewart

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

Mr. Deputy Speaker

With this it will be convenient to take Lords amendments Nos. 12, 13, 14 and 15. I inform the House that privilege is involved in this amendment.

Mr. Stewart

The right hon. Member for Glasgow, Craigton (Mr. Millan) may be working from a draft Order Paper which has subsequently been revised.

This new clause and the associated schedule amendments were introduced in another place in response to the undertaking given at the Report stage on 17 May to make provision in the Bill for grant assistance to be given by local authorities towards the installation of means of escape from fire in houses which are classed in general terms as being in multiple occupation. The right hon. Member for Craigton will remember that this point was raised on Report on the Floor of the House. I gave a commitment that the measure would be introduced in the other place.

Amendment No. 13 is a minor technical amendment intended to improve an inconsistency in the method by which the appropriate improvement grant provisions of the Housing (Scotland) Act 1974 were related to the repairs grants provisions introduced into that Act by the Housing (Financial Provisions) (Scotland) Act 1978. If the right hon. Member for Craigton would like me to write to him further spelling out the provisions in detail I shall be happy to do so.

Mr. Deputy Speaker

It may be for the convenience of the House if we take Lords amendment No. 13 separately.

Mr. Millan

I had been working from the wrong document, although there was no indication that it was not the right one. When the Minister previously mentioned local authorities having the power to assist local industry, I responded on the question of fire escapes. Now that he is dealing with fire escapes, I hope that I may respond on the question of assistance to local industry.

The question of assistance to local industry up to the maximum of the 2p rate was raised originally with me by Councillor Stewart of Strathclyde region. Similar amendments had been moved to the English legislation. I arranged to have the matter raised in the other place at a late stage. The Government kindly consented to consider the matter, and I am glad that they moved the amendment. Large numbers of Scottish local authorities were extemely doubtful about what their powers to help industry were. It is useful to have the issue clarified.

I should be grateful to the Minister, now that we are actually dealing with amendment No. 13, if he could explain it to me.

Question put and agreed to. [Special Entry.]

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