Housing (Scotland).

– in the House of Commons on 23rd July 1942.

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Photo of Mr Joseph Westwood Mr Joseph Westwood , Stirling and Falkirk District of Burghs

I beg to move, That the Draft of the Order proposed to be made by the Secretary of State for Scotland with the approval of the Treasury under Section 33 of the Housing (Scotland) Act, 1935. as amended by Section 4 of the Housing (Financial Provisions) (Scotland) Act, 1938, and as read along with the Reorganisation of Offices (Scotland) Act, 1939, a copy of which was presented to this House on 14th July, be approved. I ask the House to approve of this Draft Order, which was presented on 14th July and must be approved by this House one month from the date of its presentation. It merely continues the existing rates which the Exchequer pay to the local authorities under the Housing (Financial Provisions) (Scotland) Act, 1938, and the Housing (Agricultural Population) (Scotland) Act, 1938. There are only three options before us—to terminate the Exchequer contributions, to reduce the amount of the contributions, or to continue the contributions at the existing rates. We could not increase the contribution without legislation, and therefore the natural thing to do in existing circumstances was to continue the existing contributions made by the Exchequer. As required by the Acts, we have consulted the Scottish local authorities' association about the provisions of the Order, and at our meeting with them on 12th July they intimated their concurrence with its terms. It was made clear to the association that, although the Order continues the Exchequer contribution for a period of three years, which is expressly provided by the Act, it will not in any way prejudice any case which the association might put forward after the war for the alteration of the basis of contributions or the amount of the contributions should the war end before the three years expire.

Photo of Mr David Kirkwood Mr David Kirkwood , Dumbarton District of Burghs

I am quite sure all Scotland will welcome this Order, on which I would like to ask a question. To-day I put to the Minister of Labour a Question, asking him whether his attention has been drawn to the shortage of bricklayers, joiners and plumbers on the housing scheme at Dumbarton and … Clydebank; and what steps he can take to meet this shortage. The Minister replied: I am having inquiries made and I will communicate with my hon. Friend.

The question I want to put to my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary is this: Will he get his right hon. Friend to use his influence, with his own, with the Minister of Labour to see that labour is supplied, because we have everything else with which to go ahead with the building of the houses we so desperately need? Over 4,000 houses were destroyed at Clydebank over 18 months ago by the blitz, and not one house has been built since. I want the Scottish Office to use all their influence with the Minister of Labour so that the necessary men can be released in order to build houses for us.

Photo of Mr Dennis Herbert Mr Dennis Herbert , Watford

The Question is, "That the Draft of the Order "—

Photo of Mr David Kirkwood Mr David Kirkwood , Dumbarton District of Burghs

Cannot I have a reply from my hon. Friend?

Photo of Mr Dennis Herbert Mr Dennis Herbert , Watford

I gave the hon. Member rather a longer chance than I ought to have done in order to find out exactly what he wanted to say, and I have come to the conclusion that his point cannot be debated on this Motion.

Question put, and agreed to.

Resolved, That the Draft of the Order proposed to be made by the Secretary of State for Scotland with the approval of the Treasury under Section 33 of the Housing (Scotland) Act, 1935, as amended by Section 4 of the Housing (Financial Provisions) (Scotland) Act, 1938, and as read along with the Reorganisation of Offices (Scotland) Act, 1939, a copy of which was presented to this House on 14th July, be approved.