asked the Secretary of State for Scotland how many local authorities in Scotland operate mortgage schemes for private houses; and how many have ceased such schemes during the past 12 months.
Dr. Dickson Mabon
Out of 108 local authorities which operate schemes of loans for house purchase, 96 have made loans during the past year. I have no knowledge of any decision to cease making loans.
Will the hon. Gentleman do everything he can to encourage local authorities to operate these schemes to help the hundreds of young couples in Scotland who find themselves not able to buy houses for themselves? Will he do everything he can to encourage his right hon. Friend the First Secretary to make mortgages available at rates which people can afford to pay?
I am sure that the hon. gentleman is not unaware of what the Prime Minister has said and of what both Housing Ministers have declared to be their policy. He will no doubt read that when the White Papers are published shortly. The 12 authorities in Scotland whom I have not included as making regular loans are mostly small burghs and lend only from time to time. However, we take the point. The hon. Gentleman is quite right, and it is the policy of the Government, and we shall pursue it much more energetically than our predecessors did.