HC Deb 02 June 1964 vol 695 cc907-8
28. Mr. Frank Allaun

asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government and Minister for Welsh Affairs what is the outcome of his review of housing subsidies; and when he intends to introduce his proposals.

Mr. Corfield

The review is still in progress and it will not be possible to introduce proposals during the present Session.

Mr. Allaun

Is not it true that this review has been going on for many months and that meanwhile the councils and their tenants have had the heavy burden of interest which they bear further increased because of a rise in the Bank Rate and the interest rate of the Public Works Loan Board? Is the Parliamentary Secretary aware that to meet the same proportion of the annual deficit on a new house as was met 10 years ago would require the present rate of subsidy to be trebled?

Mr. Corfield

The hon. Gentleman will bear in mind that this relates to the total cost of new houses. He must also bear in mind that the working party which has studied this has had to collate a great deal of information which is not uniform throughout the country. Only when that information can be put together and the result discussed with the local authority associations would it be right to make a firm proposal.

Mr. Peter Emery

Does my hon. Friend realise that certain authorities which had introduced differential rent schemes, in order to spread the subsidy to those on their housing waiting list who really needed it, are now considering doing away with the schemes purely for political ends? Will he do everything in his power to discourage this?

Mr. Corfield

I can assure my hon. Friend that, so far as my information goes, no local authority is unable to relieve genuine need by means of the existing system without over-burdening the rates.

Mr. W. Hamilton

Is the Parliamentary Secretary aware that there are hundreds of thousands of houses in the country in respect of which no rent is paid at all and that these are in the control of the Government? What do the Government intend to do about them?