HC Deb 01 May 1956 vol 552 cc181-3
19. Mr. Gibson

asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government how many projects for capital developments, other than housing, put forward by local authorities, have been rejected or postponed since the beginning of 1956; and the total of capital expenditure involved.

Mr. Sandys

I regret that information in this form is not readily available. In respect of services, other than housing, for which I am responsible, loans amounting to about £16½ million were sanctioned during the first quarter of this year. That is about 9 per cent. less than the figure for the correspondng period of last year.

Mr. Gibson

Ought not the Government to have this information? Is the Minister aware that we are getting reports from all over the country about all kinds of comparatively small building schemes and all sorts of projects other than housing being rejected? Ought we not to be able to get information about that through his Ministry, if necessary in co-operation with any other Ministry which is involved? Will he make an effort in that direction?

Mr. Sandys

Yes; it did involve considerable co-ordination of information from files in a number of different Departments at fairly short notice. That was the difficulty.

23. Mr. Lindgren

asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government Whether, in the case of local authorities in new and expanded towns, he is prepared to relax the present restrictions on capital expenditure to enable the provision of urgent social amenities.

Mr. Sandys

All proposals will be carefully considered; but my idea of what is urgent may be rather different from that of the hon. Member.

Mr. Lindgren

Surely the right hon. Gentleman will agree that in new towns, where on average about a thousand families a year are coming into the town, there is a special case for the provision of social amenities, playing fields, swimming baths, etc. In one new town his Ministry is even refusing permission to build a public convenience.

Mr. Sandys

If we are to win the fight against inflation, all local authorities, including local authorities in new towns and expanded towns, will have to make their contribution towards reducing public expenditure.

Mr. Mitchison

While the fight goes on, will the right hon. Gentleman tell us what the inhabitants of Corby, the new town in question, who happen to need a public convenience, are to do?

Mr. Sandys

I will leave that to the hon. and learned Gentleman's imagination.