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Volume 463: debated on Tuesday 29 March 1949

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asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he is aware that the grates and duct system in the Blackburn houses are not regarded as satisfactory; and if he will state the cost of this heating system.

There have been no complaints about the heating installation in the Blackburn two-storey house, but some tenants have expressed dissatisfaction with the grate installed in the aluminium bungalow. I have asked the Ministry of Fuel and Power to investigate this and will let my hon. Friend know the result. The cost of the system is estimated at £20.

Will my right hon. Friend give an assurance that the installation of the duct heating system in Blackburn houses will not be continued?

Of course, these houses are now completed. No more of this type are being made.

In view of the complaints, of which the right hon. Gentleman is aware, about dampness in the aluminium houses in Fife, will he be good enough to send me a copy of the information which he proposes to send to the hon. Lady?

The hon. Lady has a Question down on that subject. It is usually considered improper to anticipate the next Question.


asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what complaints he has received regarding dampness and condensation in the Blackburn houses; and what steps are to be taken to deal with this trouble.

No complaints have been received about permanent aluminium bungalows or about the permanent Blackburn two-storey house. There were some years ago spots of trouble over condensation in a few of the aluminium temporary houses and recently some more cases have arisen. My Department are at present considering what steps they should advise local authorities to take to put matters right.

Might I explain that I referred to aluminium houses on the last Question because the right hon. Gentleman referred to them in his answer? With regard to his last answer, is the right hon. Gentleman aware that he undertook to make immediate inquiries into complaints in East Fife and that he has not carried out his obligation?

If the hon. Gentleman means that the inquiries have not yet been completed, that may be so, but I am certainly having inquiries carried out.


asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what is the cost of the erection of Swedish houses in the Highlands generally, and in the county of Ross and Cromarty in particular.

The average tender price of the 1,000 Swedish houses is £2,030 per house. The average in the county of Ross and Cromarty including the burghs is £2,056.

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that a private firm in Scotland is able to erect these houses at an all-in cost of £1,189, and how does he account for this extraordinary difference in price?

I saw that report in the Press and naturally I made inquiries into it. My Department have discussed with the firm which originally mentioned this figure whether it is applicable to Highland conditions. I understand that the firm have indicated that they take no responsibility for the way in which their quotation has been used by the Press or by local authorities. Their price relates to houses delivered at a Fife port and assembled within a radius of 40 miles in numbers of not less than 50 houses per site. In addition, the price excludes certain items. Incidentally, the firm estimate their total capacity of Swedish houses at some 100 per annum and, in discussion with my Department, they agreed that their price for building under the con- ditions in which the Highland tenders were submitted, would not differ substantially from the figures which have been quoted to local authorities.

Will my right hon. Friend clear up one point? Is this the cost of assembly, including roads and services, or is it the cost of a completed house?

The price mentioned by the hon. Member for Ross and Cromarty (Mr. MacLeod) excludes, for instance, travelling time allowance, fares, transport, subsistence, overtime, guaranteed time, messing, drains, manholes, clothes poles and a whole series of other items.

Might I have an answer to my question? Is this the cost of assembly or is it the cost of the completed house?