asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will make a study of relative costs of renovating and bringing up to date older houses in Scotland; and if he will then give advice to local authorities who wish to carry out such programmes as to how overall costs might be reduced.
I will certainly consider this suggestion. A great deal is already known, and my Department is always ready to give advice to local authorities about improvement schemes and their costs.
May I ask my right hon. Friend if he is aware that there is a very great need, on social if not wholly economic grounds, for programmes of this kind to be engaged in at the earliest possible opportunity, but that many local authorities feel that the cost involved is far too high, and, I am sure, would welcome some assistance from research undertaken by his Department?
Yes, indeed, and we are prepared to provide this, because our aim and purpose is to get very speedy improvement as far as possible in this respect. Results over the years have been disappointing. There are reasons for it, but if they are financial I am prepared to look at them.