HC Deb 14 July 1964 vol 698 cc1009-10
18. Mr. Frank Allaun

asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government and Minister for Welsh Affairs if he will now make a statement on his review of housing subsidies.

Sir K. Joseph

I cannot add to the reply given by my hon. Friend on 2nd June.

Mr. Allaun

Since the review is due shortly, in reaching his conclusions will the Minister bear two points in mind? First, it is the Government's doubling of interest rates that has doubled council house rents and, secondly, it is not the tenants who are being subsidised so much as the financiers?

Sir K. Joseph

No, I cannot bear those points in mind, either in the form in which they are put by the hon. Member or exclusively. The point I will bear in mind is that it is the duty of the Government to see that people can be decently housed by local authorities, regardless of their means—and there is no evidence whatever to show that this is not the case today.

Mr. Lipton

Is the Minister not prepared to review the whole position in the light of the very alarming figures which have been released by the Town and Country Planning Association and which show that the right hon. Gentleman has grossly under-estimated the magnitude of the problem?

Sir K. Joseph

A later Question appears on the Order Paper on this subject. The hon. Gentleman's imputation is completely wrong. This Question is about housing subsidies, about which a review is going on.

Mr. M. Stewart

Will the Minister at any rate relieve the anxiety of those local authorities which fear that he may be using as soon as he can his powers under the 1961 Act to refuse or abolish existing subsidies?

Sir K. Joseph

There is absolutely no evidence of any intention in my mind of that at the moment.