HC Deb 08 November 1960 vol 629 cc806-7
13. Mr. Deedes

asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government and Minister for Welsh Affairs whether he has made any estimate of the toal cost involved in current plans for the comprehensive redevelopment of central areas in cities and towns; and whether he will consider setting up some official agency which could assist by loans the financing of these long-term projects.

Sir K. Joseph

My right hon. Friend has not made such an estimate. He is always ready to consider suggestions for facilitating comprehensive redevelopment, but it is Government policy that both private developers and local authorities should borrow in the market on their own account.

Mr. Deedes

Has the Parliamentary Secretary and his right hon. Friend considered the Report produced as a result of the one-day school at the Civic Trust, which my right hon. Friend opened, which put forward the suggestion that, in order to bring some of these arrangements together, something like a land finance corporation is very desirable? In view of the importance to some of us of avoiding haphazard arrangements in this matter, cannot fresh consideration be given to the conclusions reached by that course?

Sir K. Joseph

Yes. My right hon. Friend is certainly considering the report of the one-day conference to which my hon. Friend refers, but, inasmuch as the conference appeared to want some special lower rate of interest for central area redevelopment, it would go against Government policy about providing hidden subsidies. My right hon. Friend is considering the suggestion of the conference that there might be a deferment of interest charges for a period at the beginning of some developments.

Mr. Molson

Does my hon. Friend realise that, in the case of the redevelopment of the centres of many towns, there is often a conflict between the short-term and the long-term policy? It is important that local authorities should be enabled to adopt a long-term policy. They should receive some kind of financial assistance in order to do so.

Sir K. Joseph

It does not seem to my right hon. Friend that financial assistance should be necessary in what are, by hypothesis, the most valuable areas of cities. My right hon. Friend is considering the possibility that the machinery for deferring interest charges may need extension.

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