HC Deb 11 December 1956 vol 562 c222
43. Mr. Awbery

asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government how many local authorities have notified him of their intention to discontinue building dwelling-houses.

Mr. Sandys

I would refer the hon. Member to the Answer given to the hon. Member for Walthamstow, West (Mr. Redhead) on 4th December.

Mr. Awbery

Is the Minister aware that it is reported that 300 local authorities are discontinuing building houses because of the abolition of the subsidy and the increase in the Bank Rate, and does he not agree that this is a retrograde step in a great social service? What is he doing to stop this step backwards?

Mr. Sandys

I do not know about "this step backwards". First, I have asked all local authorities to let me have their estimate of the number of tenders which they are proposing to let for the erection of houses during the current financial year. As soon as the returns are complete, I shall publish them; but I think it will be found that, while there has been a switch from general needs house building to slum clearance, there is no evidence of any sharp reduction in the overall housing plans of local authorities.

Mr. Mitchison

Does the right hon. Gentleman consider it right to make a second cut in the housing subsidies when he does not yet know the result of the first one?

Mr. Sandys

I believe the hon. and learned Gentleman will have an opportunity of expounding his views on that subject on Thursday.

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