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Glasgow East End Project

Volume 932: debated on Wednesday 25 May 1977

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asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he is yet in a position to make a progress report on the Glasgow East End Project.

The organisational planning has been completed and the participating authorities—that is, the regional and district councils, the Scottish Development Agency and the Scottish Special Housing Association-have agreed the priorities for early action. The first work on site, involving new house building and tenement rehabilitation, will start in June and other early projects will follow quickly.

Can the Minister assure the House that the new administration in Glasgow will not fold up that project? Does he recall that many thousands of people went without good houses because a previous administration changed, and is he aware that that danger still exists.

I cannot give my hon. Friend that categorical assurance but, as far as I know, the new administration has made no declaration or attempt to change the policy on East End. I should certainly regret it if that happened. The new administration has given no indication that it will do other than support the constructive attempts of the previous administration in relation to East End.

Is my hon. Friend aware—in spite of the answer he has just given—of the experience in 1968–70, when there was a similar council, that is, a Conservative one supported by the Scottish National Party, and when the number of houses built in Glasgow dropped to zero? Does he realise that it has taken us many years to recover from that situation?

I am aware of the disastrous housing policies of the Tories when they were in power in Glasgow before, but it is only fair to point out that the housing problems in Glasgow have changed. There have been enormous improvements during the last 10 years, and we can only wait and see what the new administration will attempt to do.

Does the Minister agree that his hon. Friends have been talking rubbish, and will he indicate the total number of housing completions in Glasgow last year when there was a Labour council and a Labour Government?

The hon. Gentleman is an expert on rubbish. I must add, in the light of what I have just said, that nobody on the Government Benches is playing the numbers game. The quality and availability of the right houses in the right place are more important factors in framing a housing policy.