HC Deb 22 January 1957 vol 563 cc16-7
20. Mr. Sorensen

asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government the average percentage increase in the construction of working-class houses during each of the preceding five years; and also the percentage increased cost of maintenance of council houses and prefabricated houses, respectively.

Mr. H. Brooke

In reply to the first part of the Question, I would refer the hon. Member to the Answer given by my predecessor to a Question by the hon. Member for West Ham, North (Mr. Lewis) on 31st October last. The figures asked for in the second part of the Question are not available.

Mr. Sorensen

Will the Minister try to secure those figures, seeing that they are of great importance not only to Members of this House interested in this matter—which, no doubt, includes everyone—but also to local authorities?

Mr. Brooke

The fact is that local authorities make no returns of maintenance costs. I am reluctant to add to their burdens, and, of course, local authorities take such different measures of responsibility for repairs in their council houses that I am not at all sure that any returns would actually be meaningful.

Mr. Mitchison

But cannot the right hon. Gentleman use the maintenance costs which are used for the national income and expenditure figures?

Mr. Brooke

I have considered this matter from the point of view of local authorities, and I am bound to say that I do not think that any returns which we ask the local authorities to send in could be added together in such a way that conclusions could be drawn from them.