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Applications Served on New Town Development Corporations

Part of Orders of the Day — Housing (Scotland) Bill – in the House of Commons at 11:15 pm on 29th March 1988.

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Photo of Adam Ingram Adam Ingram , East Kilbride 11:15 pm, 29th March 1988

The Minister mentioned the moratorium. Let me give him some figures on which to ponder. In 1979, a total of 2,018 new houses were completed by the new towns; in 1986, the number was 157 and in 1987—for the second quarter—it was only 15. That was at a time of growing homelessness, growing waiting lists and growing demand for new town public sector housing, as my hon. Friends the Members for Fife, Central (Mr. McLeish) and for Livingston (Mr. Cook) pointed out. The Minister has said again that the new clauses and amendments are premature. I cannot accept that. There is genuine fear and worry among new town tenants about the Government's intentions. The Minister said that no one will be compelled to transfer his tenancy before wind-up, but he did not rule out compulsion after wind-up, and that is what is worrying new town tenants. That is why they asked the new town MPs to table new clauses to the Bill.

If the Minister is genuinely concerned about giving the tenants in new town areas real choice, he should give them the option of choosing the district council on wind-up, as set out in the new clause. A refusal by the Government to accept the new clauses will give 45,000 families a clear message. They will never accept platitudes; they want clear and precise answers. I think that they have got such answers tonight. If the Government want to send out a different message and do something to the benefit of the new towns, they should accept the new clauses.