Clydebank (Housing and Transport)

Oral Answers to Questions — Scotland – in the House of Commons on 8th October 1942.

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

asked the Prime Minister whether he will direct special inquiries to be made by the various Departments concerned into the loss of production in industries vital to the war, the waste of fuel and power caused by unnecessary travel of workers to and from work, and the hardships suffered by these workers in many ways, all of which difficulties arise from the destruction of houses in Clydebank by air-raids in 1941; and if he will intervene to remedy all these difficulties?

Photo of Mr Clement Attlee Mr Clement Attlee , Stepney Limehouse

I do not think that any useful purpose would be served by making special inquiries such as is suggested in my hon. Friend's Question. In this connection I would refer him to the replies already given by the Ministers concerned to the various Questions which he has put on this subject.

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

Is not the right hon. Gentleman aware that the reason I have put this Question down to the Prime Minister is that, in Clydebank, not only workers but employers are dreading having to face a second winter after the blitz, which deprived them of everything yet in spite of their just grievances the workers are treated, as I have stated on the Floor of the House of Commons, as though they were criminals and not victims? Here I get no decent reply from the Prime Minister; it is his Deputy who gives the reply. We shall have to se" what can be done in the matter. I want to know whether the Prime Minister's Deputy will take this matter up seriously.

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

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether he is aware that, while houses are being built for workers in new factories, no houses can be built for shipyard workers on the Clyde whose houses have been destroyed by enemy action; and whether he will see that there is better co-ordination between Departments in the matter of housing and all workers in England and Scotland treated alike in this respect?

Photo of Mr Thomas Johnston Mr Thomas Johnston , Stirlingshire and Clackmannanshire Western

No new houses have been begun, either in Scotland or in England, since February of this year. As I informed the hon. Member on Tuesday, 288 houses are still under construction in Clydebank, and I am taking every possible step to assist the town council in expediting the completion of these houses. Since the war began, 30,000 houses in all have been completed in Scotland, and on 7,000 more work is being pressed forward to the limits of labour and materials available.

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

Will the Secretary of State, who knows the circumstances as well as I do, try to institute a scheme for giving us utility houses now, instead of waiting until it is too late? We are desperately in need of houses in Clydebank now.

Photo of Mr Thomas Johnston Mr Thomas Johnston , Stirlingshire and Clackmannanshire Western

As I told the hon. Member on Tuesday, we think it desirable that the available labour and material should be used to complete the 280 houses under construction; and when these houses are completed, as I hope they will be this winter, it will be time to consider how the labour and materials available can be further used.

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

The Secretary of State knows perfectly well that 280 houses are no use at the moment. We need 2,000 or 3,000. Over 4,000 have been completely destroyed, and not a house has been built.

Photo of Mr James Maxton Mr James Maxton , Glasgow Bridgeton

Will the hon. Member find out from the Minister of Works and Planning how many builders are knocking about in Scotland doing nothing?

Photo of Mr Thomas Johnston Mr Thomas Johnston , Stirlingshire and Clackmannanshire Western

If any evidence can be given me that there are any I shall certainly take the matter up with the Minister of Works and Planning; but I know that there are 100 tradesmen at present engaged on the completion of these houses in Clydebank.