§ Mr. J. N. Browne
I beg to move in page 1, line 12, after "completed", to insert:after the commencement of this Act".This Amendment clarifies the position of houses approved on or after 1st August, 1956, and completed before the passing of this Bill. The House will remember that, in Committee, we thought that subsection (4) should be amended, but this seems a more appropriate way of doing things.
In effect, before a house can now become an approved house qualifying for the new subsidy, it has not only to have been received for tender approval by my right hon. Friend on or after 1st August, 1956, but it also has to have been completed after the date of the enactment. It is not expected that many houses will be involved in getting the old subsidy up to 24th May. Out of 13,368 houses approved for subsidy under the new rates, only 30 have been completed.
§ Mr. William Ross (Kilmarnock)
We are grateful, even at this stage, for the recognition by the Government that it was necessary to make absolutely clear the definition in respect of houses which would attract the new subsidy. We cannot pretend to be entirely satisfied so far with what the Government have done; this Amendment is far too late, anyway, but it now means that the Government have no right to apply a new subsidy before they have statutory provision to do so.
The Government have not endeared themselves to many local authorities. It should have been obvious from the start to the Government that they had no right to say that local authorities would get the lower subsidy until such time as a new Act had been passed giving the right to change the existing provisions. I can assure the Joint Under-Secretary of State that many local authorities and other people concerned in this matter, were surprised, having read the OFFICIAL REPORT of the proceedings in Committee, that all the Government said in July last year, they would still be able to get the old subsidy if their houses were finished before the passing of this Measure.
908 We were told on a previous occasion that this provision would apply to only about half a dozen houses. I am not satisfied that that is the position. It may be that the Joint Under-Secretary has more information on the number of houses affected in Scotland, and I should be very glad indeed to hear how many he thinks will be affected by this change. Actually, it is not really a change, but it is now definitely made clear that houses will get the old subsidy, despite the date when they were approved, even after 1st August last year, so long as they were completed before the passing of this Measure.
I would be grateful if the hon. Gentleman could tell us how many he anticipates will be covered by this provision. We have no grounds for objecting to this Amendment, although we still do not consider that the position is satisfactory in relation to the dates.
§ Mr. J. N. Browne
If I may have permission to speak again, I did say that only 30 have been completed to date. It will be a very small number, but I cannot give the exact number to the date of the passing of the Measure.
§ Amendment agreed to.