HC Deb 11 July 1923 vol 166 cc1341-2

asked the Minister of Health whether, in view of the fact that, at several housing conferences of representatives of local authorities held in the North of England last week, it was definitely stated that the Ministry of Health intended to make the payment of the subsidy from the State anthorised by the new Bill conditional upon the local authority contributing, out of its rates, towards the cost of the houses, both in the case of those provided by the local authority itself and in the case of those houses provided by the private builder, and in view of the uncertainty created in the minds of certain local authorities on this point, he will state whether the £6 grant by the State to the local authority will be made dependent upon the local authority contributing, out of the local rates, to the cost of such houses, whether provided by itself or by private builders, even in those cases where it can secure their provision without any further charge upon public funds than the £6 State subsidy provided in the Housing Bill?


asked the Minister of Health whether it is his intention to withhold State subsidies from housing schemes put forward by private enterprise unless some liability is also imposed on local rates in respect of the same schemes; and whether, in such case, he will indicate the extent of the less per house which is expected to be borne by the rates when the full State contribution is paid?


There is no authority for the statement that the grant by the State of £6 per house for 20 years will be dependent on the local authority making a contribution out of the local rates. Where the local authority with my approval themselves erect houses complying with the Bill, the Government grant will in all cases be £6 for 20 years. Where the local authority grant assistance to private enterprise, the Government grant will be £6 for 20 years if the total assistance so granted is equal to or greater than the equivalent of this annual payment. If the total assistance granted to private enterprise is less than the equivalent of £6 for 20 years, the Government contribution, in accordance with the latter part of the proviso to Clause 1 of the Bill, will be the equivalent of the total assistance actually granted.


How soon does the right hon. Gentleman's Department propose to notify the local authorities as to the conditions on which grants will be made so that there may be no misapprehension on the point?


We have already notified them as to the provisions in the Bill, and I do not think it is advisable to notify them again until the Bill has passed through all its stages and become law.