Housing Capital Expenditure

Oral Answers to Questions — Scotland – in the House of Commons at 2:17 pm on 25th January 1995.

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Photo of Malcolm Chisholm Malcolm Chisholm , Edinburgh Leith 2:17 pm, 25th January 1995

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what is the percentage change in net housing capital expenditure between 1994–95 and 1995–96.

Photo of Lord James Douglas-Hamilton Lord James Douglas-Hamilton , Edinburgh West

Reflecting the growth in owner-occupation, planned net provision for housing revenue account and non-HRA capital expenditure, together with the Scottish Homes development programme, falls by 2.3 per cent. between this year and next. Gross provision is, however, a more realistic measure of the resources available to spend on housing, and on the same basis falls by only 1.0 per cent. Within that, total provision for local authority capital expenditure on its own stock, and the resources for the Scottish Homes development programme remain at broadly this year's levels.

Photo of Malcolm Chisholm Malcolm Chisholm , Edinburgh Leith

Why, in a year of cuts, has the most savage blow once again fallen on the housing budget? Will the Minister admit that, if we go forward three years, the real terms cut, even in the gross housing budget, will be 17.5 per cent.? Does not he understand that the homeless cannot wait while money for new building is postponed? Does not he recognise that people living in inadequate housing in my constituency want a speeding up, rather than a slowing down of modernisation programmes and of other improvements?

Photo of Lord James Douglas-Hamilton Lord James Douglas-Hamilton , Edinburgh West

Gross capital expenditure per house in the public sector is at its highest level and is projected to rise—it is £650 in the current year. Of course, £2.8 billion will be spent on housing in the next three years. Scottish Homes is expected to provide 2,500 units. It has provided impressive work in Muirhouse, which I recently visited and which is in the hon. Gentleman's constituency. It is bringing back into use many more rented houses, which will help the hon. Gentleman's constituents.

Photo of Mr Ian Bruce Mr Ian Bruce , South Dorset

Has my hon. Friend had the opportunity to compare the figures for Scotland with those for England and Wales? Will he comment on the very good settlements for Scotland? Especially as we are considering the possibilities of further devolved government in Scotland, would it be helpful to the House if all statistics for Scotland were related to England and Wales, so that we could find out whether Scotland is getting a good deal out of the Union?

Photo of Lord James Douglas-Hamilton Lord James Douglas-Hamilton , Edinburgh West

There is much higher public expenditure per head across the range of identifiable subjects—that is beyond dispute. Obviously, we must ensure that resources go where they are most needed. As 300,000 public sector houses in Scotland have been sold to sitting tenants, we cannot expect to spend the same funds as we would have if those 300,000 houses had remained in the public sector.