HC Deb 07 March 1963 vol 673 cc635-6
11. Mr. Wainwright

asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government and Minister for Welsh Affairs if he will make an additional subsidy grant to those local authorities who plan to have installed some form of central heating in both existing and future aged people's bungalows.

Mr. Corfield

No, Sir. Subsidies on new dwellings are paid at a flat rate per dwelling. It is for the local authorities to decide how best to equip the dwellings they are providing for particular purposes. On the question of improving existing dwellings, I would refer the hon. Member to the reply given to him on 28th February.

Mr. Wainwright

Does the hon. Gentleman realise that that Answer is rather puerile? Is he not aware that there is a feeling in the country at the moment that every house and building ought to have some form of central heating? That being so, does he not agree that our aged people, especially during the kind of weather we have been having, ought to have the benefit of central heating? Does he not realise that the cost of heating a house is very high for these old-age pensioners who can afford only one fire? Ought not we as a nation to make certain that the heat from that one fire is utilised to the fullest extent?

Mr. Corfield

I think that the hon. Gentleman is confusing the issue. The basic purpose of the improvement grant is to provide improvements by way of facilities which did not exist in the original building. Its purpose is not to provide for the replacement or maintenance of existing facilities.

Mr. Bence

Would the hon. Gentleman consider examining the possibilities of group central heating for old folks' houses? Recently there have been quite a lot of accidents with heating appliances in the houses of old folk, and possibly group central heating of a group of houses would be an economical and practical proposition.

Mr. Corfield

Where this is suitable, these individual cases are examined on their merits, but again it is for the local authorities to put forward cases they have in mind.