HC Deb 27 January 1953 vol 510 cc821-3
21. Mr. H. Nicholls

asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government what steps he is taking to encourage those in income groups up to £500 per annum to become owner occupiers of houses instead of rent subsidised council house tenants.

Mr. H. Macmillan

The most powerful encouragement would be a fall in the price of new houses, and for that I must look to the building industry with its new freedom to build under licence. There are considerable facilities for borrowing from building societies, insurance companies and local authorities, and I will welcome any assistance to make them more widely known.

Mr. Nicholls

Whilst agreeing with the Minister that cheaper building is important, would he not agree that the building society basis is that weekly repayments of the purchase of a house must not be more than a quarter of the weekly income of the borrower, and that the present buildings costs bring the price of the house to a level where some sort of a capital grant would be needed?

Mr. Janner

Is one of the steps which the Minister is taking to encourage the purchase of private houses the increase in the rates of interest that he has imposed?

Mr. Macmillan

No, Sir, but the increase in the Bank rate is one of the steps that has stabilised the currency and has prevented a rise in prices which would have doubled or trebled the price of houses.

Mr. Nabarro

Can my right hon. Friend say what proposals he has in mind to prevent the present position developing any further whereby many families in receipt of an income of more than £500 a year are living in council houses and are being subsidised by other families who financially are much worse off?

Mr. Macmillan

That is too large a question for me to deal with by Question and answer.

Mr. Blenkinsop

Is the right hon. Gentleman not aware that the present rates of interest are preventing many people from buying such houses?

Mr. Macmillan

No, we are making it possible by keeping prices down as a result of dealing with the inflationary situation.

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