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Part of Orders of the Day — Housing and Town Development (Scotland) Bill – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 3rd June 1957.
I beg to second the Amendment.
I do not propose to go over all the arguments again, but I would remind the Government that at present the local authority pays approximately one-third, and contributes, for houses of from one to three apartments, £13 5s.; for four-apartment houses, £14 5s.; and, for five-apartment houses, £15 10s. Under the Bill and with the reduced subsidy of £24, the local authority will be asked to pay £8, and proportionately.
Under Clause 5 as drafted the local authorities are to be relieved of any contribution whatsoever. The position is far too serious for that to be allowed to happen. In Glasgow, the position will he lamentable. Our case is that there is not a social responsibility only upon the Government to provide some help in the provision of houses, but also upon the community in Glasgow itself.
Considering all the circumstances and the seriousness of the situation, we cannot but come to the conclusion that the real purpose of the Government, first, by their proposal to reduce the subsidy, and then by their proposal to relieve the local authority of its responsibility for making some contribution, is to stop house building altogether. That is what the effect of the Bill will be. We have seen signs of this happening in Scotland. Only this morning we read in the Press of a local authority's having decided to stop building because of the frightful cost. My hon. Friend the Member for Hamilton (Mr. T. Fraser) has referred to the position prevailing in Dumfries-shire. All hon. Members from Scotland know what is happening.
The Government cannot escape their responsibility by saying that this is a matter for the local authorities alone. By means of this Bill some local authorities will evade their responsibility by pointing out that the Bill allows that. They will say, to coin a phrase anew, "The law allows it and, therefore, the court awards it." We appeal once more to the Government to reconsider this matter, and I hope that they will at least be prepared to say they will consider the Amendment.