Oral Answers to Questions — Scotland – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 4th December 1968.
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what response he has had from local authorities to his circular letter recommending them to have some basis for common house-letting policies; and if he will make a statement.
The circular asked for a response only from local authorities which considered the policies it described to be unsuitable for their areas. So far two small burghs have indicated that they wish to continue with different arrangements. Many authorities are no doubt still considering the matter.
Is my hon. Friend aware that in some parts of Lanark people have to wait for a house for two years, while in other parts they have to wait for seven years? Will he not remind local authorities that, in the interests of the people as a whole, the waiting periods should be level?
The circular was sent out only about six weeks ago. It is only reasonable to give local authorities time to consider it, because as my hon. Friend will appreciate, in Lanarkshire, for example, it will mean a substantial change of policy.
What general indication have the Government received from local authorities, in response to the circular on the recommendations of the Kay Report to the suggestions for improving mobility over the whole country, and in particular for abolishing residential qualifications for housing lists?
As I have said, it is a little early to be able to make an assessment because it is only six weeks since the circular was sent. Those with local authority experience will know that in local government that is not a long time when there have to be discussions in housing committees and allocation committees and so on before an issue goes to the council. So far, we have had only three letters and the hon. Gentleman would not, I am sure, like a reply based on only three letters.
Will my hon. Friend make it clear that the circular is advisory and not mandatory on local authorities?