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Peripheral Housing Estates

Volume 81: debated on Wednesday 19 June 1985

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asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what proposals he is considering in response to the report on peripheral housing estates by CES Ltd., "Framework for Action," a copy of which is being sent to him; and if he will make a statement.

The study was commissioned by four local authorities, including Glasgow district council, and it is for them to consider in the first instance how best to respond. I shall, nevertheless, study with interest the proposals of relevance for central Government. I welcome in particular the emphasis in the report on the need and scope for joint ventures between the public and private sectors to tackle the problems of peripheral estates.

In the light of that reply, will the Minister indicate, even informally, to Glasgow and Strathclyde that he would be willing to meet them to discuss in what way a new structure might be evolved — be it a town development or urban development corporation—to fit the needs of Easterhouse?

The hon. Gentleman will accept that I must, first, look at this quite complex document and evaluate it, and obviously I cannot make a commitment as to timing. I believe that the emphasis must be on co-ordinated action, which recognises the priority needs of Easterhouse within existing programmed expenditure. As he will be aware, the SDA is already involved in the new greater Easterhouse partnership and the new joint initiative for Easterhouse. The agency will, within the terms of its remit, continue to respond positively to the problems of such areas.

Does my hon. Friend agree that the hon. Member for Glasgow, Provan (Mr. Brown) has drawn attention to a constructive proposal for dealing with one of the many problems that arise from past mistakes by local authorities, often egged on by Governments of the day, in housing policy? While recognising that much has to be done to rectify these errors, does my hon. Friend accept that that should not be done at the expense of the housing needs of those local authorities which have pursued wiser policies?

I am grateful to my hon. Friend for making that point, and I am sure he realises that it is the Government's concern to promote and encourage private sector involvement in public sector estates, both to diversify tenure and to enhance the amenity. I hope that authorities will not stand in the way of these types of development for political ideological reasons.