I am afraid that I cannot give a figure for the number of people in Scotland receiving tax relief for purchasing their own homes, but I can say that the comparison, although not a very meaningful one, would indicate that the total amount of subsidy in the case of a council house in the previous year—the most recent figures we have—was approaching £100.
Does not the hon. Gentleman agree that a person receiving the average wage in manufacturing industry in Scotland would not be able to obtain a mortgage to buy the cheapest new house offered for sale in Scotland? What are the Government going to do to remedy this situation before they pursue their policy further of increasing council rents, thus chasing people into the private sector where they cannot afford the houses being built?
The question of who can afford a mortgage has to be considered by the individual and the building society in the light of the circumstances of each case. If a person who cannot afford a mortgage has low means and needs help, he will get it from the generous rent rebate scheme under the new Bill.