Building Development.

Oral Answers to Questions — Scotland. – in the House of Commons on 23rd June 1942.

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Mr. McNeil:

asked the Prime Minister whether the Ministry of Works and Buildings has any departmental responsibility for housing in Scotland; and whether the Minister of Works and Buildings can initiate any form of building development in Scotland outwith the powers of town and country planning vested in the Secretary of State for Scotland?

Photo of Mr Clement Attlee Mr Clement Attlee , Stepney Limehouse

The Ministry of Works and Buildings has no departmental responsibility for housing or for initiating any form of building development, beyond responsibility for the provision of civil works and buildings required by a Government Department.

Mr. McNeil:

While thanking my right hon. Friend for his precise answer, may I ask him whether the apprehensions of many Scottish local authorities about any invasion by London agents are entirely without foundation?

Photo of Mr Clement Attlee Mr Clement Attlee , Stepney Limehouse

I hope that by my answer such apprehensions will have been quietened.

Photo of Mr Adam M'Kinlay Mr Adam M'Kinlay , Dunbartonshire

Will the right hon. Gentleman impress upon the Minister the necessity of not delivering speeches which are not in consonance with the Government's policy, and of ceasing to give invitations to Scottish contractors to send their own schemes for house-building to London?

Photo of Mr Ian Hannah Mr Ian Hannah , Wolverhampton Bilston

Has this Ministry any authority over the few remaining old buildings in Scotland?

Mr. McNeil:

asked the Prime Minister what presently are the precise functions and powers in Scotland of the Ministry of Works and Buildings?

Photo of Mr Clement Attlee Mr Clement Attlee , Stepney Limehouse

The functions of the Ministry of Works and Buildings in Scotland, as in England and Wales, were the subject of a statement which I made in the House on 24th October, 1940, to which I would refer my hon. Friend. The exact position of the Ministry of Works and Buildings in relation to reconstruction in Scotland was more fully outlined in the reply which I gave to my hon. Friend, the Member for Govan (Mr. Neil Maclean) on 16th June. I am sending my hon. Friend copies of the statements to which reference is made.

Photo of Mr Herbert Williams Mr Herbert Williams , Croydon South

Do I understand my right hon. Friend to say that the statement referred to was made in 1940, some months before the Ministry came into being? [Interruption]. The right hon. Gentleman said that it was based on a statement made some two years before the Ministry came into being.

Photo of Mr Clement Attlee Mr Clement Attlee , Stepney Limehouse

The statement was made in 1940, it is true; the Ministry's name may have changed, but these are continuing functions.

Photo of Mr Herbert Williams Mr Herbert Williams , Croydon South

Surely the Ministry of Works and Buildings has many functions which are quite different from those of the Office of Works?

Photo of Mr Adam M'Kinlay Mr Adam M'Kinlay , Dunbartonshire

Is my right hon. Friend aware that the Ministry is erecting administrative buildings in Scotland with a life of 30 years, and if the Ministry has no interest in the rebuilding of Scotland, why are they putting up administrative offices to last for such a long period?

Photo of Mr Campbell Stephen Mr Campbell Stephen , Glasgow Camlachie

Has the Secretary of State for Scotland agreed to these powers being taken away from him?

Photo of Mr Clement Attlee Mr Clement Attlee , Stepney Limehouse

I am not aware that any powers have been taken away from the Secretary of State for Scotland.

Photo of Mr James Maxton Mr James Maxton , Glasgow Bridgeton

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the Ministry of Works and Buildings are refusing to allow buildings to be erected in Scotland? The point I am putting is that the Deputy Prime Minister has just replied that he is unaware that any powers have been taken away from the Secretary of State for Scotland, and here is one power that has been taken away.

Photo of Mr Clement Attlee Mr Clement Attlee , Stepney Limehouse

The question of the erection of buildings involves also that of the allocation of building materials and labour.

Photo of Mr James Maxton Mr James Maxton , Glasgow Bridgeton

I see; is that how you get out of it?