HL Deb 09 July 1969 vol 303 cc1051-2

2.42 p.m.


My Lords, I beg leave to ask the second Question which stands in my name on the Order Paper.

[The Question was as follows:

To ask Her Majesty's Government what investigation has been conducted into the housing conditions of Gibraltarians; what steps are being taken to provide adequate modern accommodation for them; approximately what would be the cost of providing this accommodation; and what amenities exist to serve the needs particularly of young Gibraltarians.]


My Lord, the problem of housing in Gibraltar has engaged the close attention of the authorities in Gibraltar for many years. Since the war 2,263 housing units have been constructed and 373 units are at present under construction. The cost thus far has been about £.7½ million. Amenities are unavoidably restricted because of the limitations of space, but the Gibraltar Government intend to improve them by developing the Victoria Stadium when circumstances permit.


My Lords, while thanking my noble friend for that reply, may I ask whether he is aware, as I am sure he is, that according to reports a large number of Gibraltarians are living in the most appalling conditions? May I further ask whether something could be done to speed up accommodation for these unfortunate people and in so doing reward them for their loyalty to the Crown?


My Lords, as I am sure all of us know, in the field of housing none of us can ever be satisfied. Unfortunately, many Gibraltarians who once lived in Spain now reside in Gibraltar, and this has, of course, put very great pressures not only on the authorities but also on the space in Gibraltar. The bad conditions are being dealt with. I understand that there are some 215 applicants who come into what is called the priority list, and I hope that these will be dealt with within the 373 units at present under construction. The accommodation of other families who now live in what was old barrack accommodation has been improved, but I hope that we shall be able to make further improvements in the not too far distant future.


My Lords, can the noble Lord give us any information as to whether it is possible for young Gibraltarians to borrow money to purchase houses, or have access to any building societies for private purchase?


My Lords, the only building society in Gibraltar is relatively small, and the number who are able to use it is clearly limited. Also, the quantity of housing of this sort that is available is again limited. In the main, I think development must depend greatly on Government-aided assistance.