Orders of the Day — Local Government and Housing (Scotland)

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 7:46 pm on 15th February 1995.

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Photo of Mr Raymond Robertson Mr Raymond Robertson , Aberdeen South 7:46 pm, 15th February 1995

No, I have been generous enough in what I have said.

Over the past 14 years, some £200 million has been taken out of housing, in a housing environment where the Government's statistics tell the story of the problems that face Scottish housing. A survey carried out by Scottish Homes paints a bleak picture. Statistics collected and collated by that Government agency show that 4.5 per cent. of all Scottish housing is below what is defined as a tolerable standard. That is a total of 100,000 Scottish homes in both the public and private sectors. They also show that 13.5 per cent. of those homes suffer from dampness and 20 per cent.—one in every five—of houses in the public and private sector suffer from condensation, mould and dampness. Those conditions affect 500,000 houses.

That is the extent of the problem facing Scotland today, yet the Government's public expenditure White Paper tells the Scottish people that they intend to cut expenditure on housing by 20 per cent. over the next three years. So, in response to a housing crisis that is unparalleled in modern times, the Government will cut the amount spent on housing. Under their convoluted system of calculating, rents for council house tenants will be forced up yet again by at least 5 per cent.—2 per cent. more than the Government's calculation of inflation. When the Government took power in Scotland, council house rents were on average £4.92 a week. When the new settlement comes in next week, they will be £27.77. That is a stark fact about the rents paid by ordinary Scottish families.

Now, 40 per cent. of Scottish housing investment goes not to local authorities but to the super-quango, Scottish Homes, which has been given more generous relief and flexible financial surroundings to spend the money.