§ 22. Mr. Frank Allaun
asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government and Minister for Welsh Affairs what was the nature of his reply to the recent requests from 23 North-West local authorities for a minimum 100 per cent. increase in housing subsidies, for low interest loans to local authorities for housing and for his reception of a deputation on these matters.
§ Mr. Corfield
My right hon. Friend has suggested to the authorities that they should arrange to discuss their problems with officers of the Department. But he has repeated that it would, in the Government's view, be wrong to make housing loans available at a specially low rate of interest, and he does not accept that the existing subsidies, if properly applied, are insufficient to allow authorities to continue building houses which can be let at rents their tenants can afford.
§ M. Allaun
Is the hon. Gentleman aware that interest rates are now so crippling that in many areas each new council house or flat means a deficit of £60 a year for 60 years, or £3,600 after taking into consideration the existing subsidy? Why should tenants and ratepayers be made to suffer in this way and councils be made the scapegoats for financial policies for which the Government are responsible?
§ Mr. Corfield
The hon. Gentleman knows that my right hon. Friend 1468 answered a Question put to him by the hon. Gentleman on 13th November last, and that since then if interest rates have changed at all they have gone down, but I remind the hon. Gentleman that the deficit, whether it is £60 or anything else, is also controlled by the rent policies adopted by local authorities.