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Clause 5. — (Termination of Local Authorities' Obligation to Make Certain Contributions, and Power to Carry Other Sums to Credit of Housing Revenue Accounts.)

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.

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Photo of Mr Jack Browne Mr Jack Browne , Glasgow Craigton 12:00 am, 3rd June 1957

That is a fair point, but we are now treating the contractual arrangement as a pool, and we are no longer relating the individual house—some built when interest rates were low and the subsidy was generous, and others built at other times—to the Government subsidy. We are simply going on with the contracts we have already made. In requiring the local authorities to deal with their housing accounts, we are no longer requiring them to take that into consideration.

All we say is that the local authorities are obliged to square their housing accounts, and we can see no point in forcing them to pay from their rate fund a certain definite sum which will not be related to the new houses that are built under this Amendment, and which, as subsidies come to an end in the future, will be gradually a reducing sum. For that reason, I found it difficult to understand the idea behind the Amendment, which, I feel, is illogical.

Our view is that local authorities should manage their own affairs, and we want this to continue. I know that the hon. Gentleman does not agree, but that is the realistic policy of this Bill, to ensure only that the housing accounts are balanced, and to trust the local authorities to play fair with their people, both as rent payers and as ratepayers. In other words, because we on this side of the House trust the local authorities we cannot accept the Amendment.