Oral Answers to Questions — Urban Deprivation

– in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 7th May 1975.

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Photo of Mrs Margaret Bain Mrs Margaret Bain , Dunbartonshire East 12:00 am, 7th May 1975

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will make a statement on the report "Census Indicators of Urban Deprivation", prepared by his Department.

Photo of Mr Reginald Freeson Mr Reginald Freeson , Brent East

This useful research was carried out by professional staff of my Department, working with the Home Office and the Scottish Office. I am considering ways by which the report may be used effectively in decision-making in housing and related fields. A copy has been placed in the Library.

Photo of Mrs Margaret Bain Mrs Margaret Bain , Dunbartonshire East

Does the Minister accept that pious hopes of future consideration will be totally unacceptable to the people of west-central Scotland? Does he realise that of the 121 worst districts in Great Britain suffering from multiple deprivation no fewer than 115 are in Clydeside? These areas have the worst unemployment record in the whole of Great Britain. Does the Minister accept that nothing that the present Government have in mind regarding future planning will be meaningful to the people of Scotland and that the real solution lies in their hands by having a meaningful Assembly which will control the economic resources of Scotland?

Photo of Mr Reginald Freeson Mr Reginald Freeson , Brent East

It is not for me, as Minister for Housing and Construction, to comment on future devolutionary plans which will be put before the House. But I would certainly accept that the study which has been made shows quite clearly that Clydeside—though this does not fall within my responsibility as Minister for Housing and Construction—is among the worst areas in the country. There are quite a number of other areas which fall directly within my responsibility in London. There is no question of pious hopes or pious declarations. This information will be used as the basis of decision-making.

Photo of Mr Tam Dalyell Mr Tam Dalyell , West Lothian

Is not the truth that Clydeside can benefit from the central research that is being done?

Photo of Mr Reginald Freeson Mr Reginald Freeson , Brent East

That is correct. To have undertaken this research under central sponsorship has been of value to Scotland for future policy decision-making.

Photo of Mr Alexander Fletcher Mr Alexander Fletcher , Edinburgh North

Did the report indicate whether the deprivation was due to lack of funds, or is it not the case that it is due to mismanagement on Clydeside mainly by Labour-controlled authorities over many years?

Photo of Mr Reginald Freeson Mr Reginald Freeson , Brent East

It did not go into the question of causes. I suggest that before hon. Members put questions of that kind they should examine the report, which is available. They will then see that it is, if anything, a descriptive and not an analytical report in the sense being suggested in the question. Concerning decision-making for the future, this is in hand, and the questions about the Scottish situation had better be addressed to the Secretary of State for Scotland.