asked the Secretary of State for Scotland how many local authorities in Scotland have no houses under construction; which they are; what are the reasons for this lack of building; and what steps he has taken, or proposes to take, to assist such local authorities to extend and implement their house building plans.
At the end of March, 84 local authorities had no houses under construction, 17 of these authorities had tenders approved for houses which they were about to start. I shall, with permission, circulate the names of the remaining 67 authorities in the OFFICIAL REPORT. About half of these 67 authorities had proposals in hand to resume building; some have said that they have no need to build further houses at present, and four that they are not building for financial reasons. My right hon.. Friend is always willing to help but it is for the authorities, in the first place, to decide whether they need to build more houses.
Is not the answer in respect of those local authorities which have not built many houses, and is not it a fact that high interest rates deter some local authorities from carrying out their obligations relating to housing? What steps is the Secretary of State taking to rectify this by the provision of lower interest rates or otherwise?
Of the 67 authorities, 62 were small burghs which in any case build only from time to time. There is no evidence that local authorities in general cannot afford to build houses which they need because of high interest rates, and the 43,000 local authority houses now under construction is certainly not evidence of this.
Following is the information:
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