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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.
No, I will not.
I want hon. Members to consider the contribution made to the debate by the hon. Member for Maryhill (Mr. Hannan). He said that if the Amendment were not accepted, the position in Glasgow would be lamentable. What does the Bill do? It gives the local authority freedom to pay what it likes into the housing account. The local authority has that freedom now. In the future there can be no minimum, but at the moment there is. Let us see what local authorities are doing now with the housing account, and whether there are any grounds for the fears expressed. Let us look at what happens when they have the freedom to pay what they like. as at the moment, and, at the same time, are compelled by Statute to pay a certain figure which amounts to one part in four.
At the moment when the law says that the local authorities shall pay one part in four, what, in fact, are they paying? One has only to look at the rating review to see what the cities are doing. The grant is 28 per cent. of the total housing expenditure. The local authorities could pay about 9 per cent., whereas, in fact, they are paying 29 per cent. At this moment, when they have the freedom to do what they like, they are paying 29 per cent. as against the statutory 9 per cent. In the large burghs 29 per cent. of the expenditure comes from grant and, therefore, 8 per cent. should be paid by the local authorities. But they are paying 31 per cent., which is nearly 4 times what they are supposed to pay by Statute. In the small burghs, such as Milngavie, which was mentioned by hon. Members opposite, they get 32 per cent. of their expenditure by way of grant and they should pay only 11 per cent. In fact, they are paying 23 per cent. That is what is happening now.