§ 3.4 p.m.
§ LORD STRATHCLYDE
I beg to move that this Order be approved. It is made under section 20 of the Housing and Town Development (Scotland) Act, 1957, to which the Royal Assent was given on July 17, 1957. The Order has been made as soon as possible after the passing of the Act so that the increased payments for which it provides, can become available at once instead of after the Summer Recess. I will try to explain what these payments are and why they should be increased. The Housing (Scotland) Act, 1950, which consolidated provisions originally enacted in 1935, provides for special payments to be made by local authorities to the owners or occupiers of houses demolished in the course of slum clearance which, although unfit for habitation, have been well maintained. The payments are calculated on either of two bases, whichever is the more beneficial.
The first of these, which is remaining unchanged, is the excess of five years' actual maintenance costs over the rateable value. The second of these bases, with which alone we are concerned here, measures the amount which might reasonably have been spent on such a house over the previous five years, by using multiples of the rateable value of the house. Since 1935 the rateable value of the kind of property involved in slum clearance has altered little, if at all, but the cost of maintenance has increased very considerably. In 1953 the Scottish Building Costs Committee reported that between 1939 and 1952 costs of repairs had increased by 200 per cent., and in order to allow of payments which more clearly reflect current costs it is necessary to increase the amounts by which rateable values are multiplied. The Order which is before the House accordingly provides for a three-fold increase in the multipliers. I should perhaps add that where the tenant has been responsible for the good maintenance of the house the payment goes to him.
My right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Scotland has consulted the Scottish local authority associations 284 on this matter, and they have raised no objection to the multipliers for which the Order provides. I would remind your Lordships that a corresponding increase in the multipliers in respect of England and Wales was brought about last October in an Order made under the Slum Clearance (Compensation) Act, 1956. I beg to move.
§ Moved, That the Housing (Payments for Well-Maintained Houses) (Scotland) Order, 1957, reported from the Special Orders Committee on 24th July, be approved.—(Lord Strathclyde.)
§ On Question, Motion agreed to.