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Housing (Space Standards)

Volume 527: debated on Tuesday 4 May 1954

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40.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland how many local authorities have objected to the contents of Circular No. 14/1954, dated 15th March, dealing with space standards in local authority houses; and what is the nature of his reply.

I have so far received representations from nine local authorities who have been told that, while the new standards are not mandatory, they can result in important economies without loss of amenity, and that I am most anxious that local authorities should give them a fair trial.

I missed part of the right hon. Gentleman's answer, but can he tell me whether the standards suggested in the circular are compulsory on local authorities? Secondly, can he tell me when he is going to make the up-to-date survey of housing requirements in Scotland which is indicated in this circular as being necessary?

In reply to the first part of the supplementary, the standards are not mandatory but do effect a saving in materials and labour and are £100 to £150 less in cost to build. I should like notice of the other part of the supplementary.

Can the Secretary of State tell us if the standards will have to be taken into account in connection with the announcement about houses in England which has just been make by the Minister of Housing and Local Government?

I do not think that we should necessarily follow English rules, but I will consider that point. To those hon. Gentlemen and members of local authorities who are doubtful about these houses. I would point out that I opened a new block at Sighthill, near Edinburgh, last Friday and I would ask them to view them before they make up their minds.

On a point of order. Would you, Mr. Speaker, allow the Secretary of State for Scotland to make a statement on the announcement just made by the Minister of Housing and Local Government as this is the last Question on Scottish housing which is on the Order Paper today?

The Secretary of State has sent me no request and there is no notice on the Order Paper about it. I could not possibly allow it.

43.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he has considered the letter from the Galston Town Council on the matter of the space-saving house; and what reply he has sent.

Yes, Sir. I am sending the hon. Member a copy of the reply given to the council, which explains the advantages to be secured by the adoption of the revised space standards.

But surely, in view of the broadcast made last night by the Minister of Health, the Secretary of State for Scotland will realise that these local authorities know just what is required in the matter of housing, and is he aware that they view with dismay this lowering of the standards of local authority houses at a time when the Secretary of State is permitting higher standards in private house-building, and will he consult local authorities about this matter and with draw the regulation?

As I have said, it is not mandatory, and I would ask hon. Members and local authorities to view these houses. Not only have I been round the unoccupied ones, but I have visited a tenant of one of the houses and I find it difficult to understand the cause for this disquiet.

Since the Secretary of State speaks so highly about these houses which he has opened, why has he given permission for a higher amount of money to be spent by people who can afford to build their own houses?

For the very good reason that if people can afford to spend more money in building their own houses, I do not see why they should not be allowed to do so.