HC Deb 11 March 1965 vol 708 cc597-9
2. Mr. Hooson

asked the Secretary of State for Wales whether he will make a statement on the Tenure and Household Arrangements section of the 1961 Census report, as it relates to the standard of housing in North and Mid-Wales.

The Under-Secretary of State for Wales (Mr. Harold Finch)

This section of the report showed that North and Mid-Wales had higher proportions of dwellings without a cold water tap, a hot water tap, a fixed bath or a water closet than England and Wales as a whole. This situation must be remedied as rapidly as means permit, by building new houses and improving existing houses.

Mr. Hooson

Will the hon. Gentleman bear in mind that the report of the 1961 Census is adverse to North and Mid-Wales in relation not only to Wales generally, but to the country as a whole? Will he bear in mind that it is very difficult for local authorities in sparsely populated areas to insist on high standards? Is not this a case where special help is needed to enable local authorities to provide houses with the amenities necessary for modern life in the country?

Mr. Finch

I agree with the hon. and learned Gentleman, and those facts will be borne in mind.

9. Mr. Abse

asked the Secretary of State for Wales what progress has been made in Wales in establishing local authority consortia for house-building purposes.

Mr. Finch

No consortia have yet been formally established but my right hon. Friend is glad that 58 local authorities have joined together in eight groups to study the possibilities of joint action.

Mr. Abse

Is it not the case that in many areas of England consortia are already functioning? In view of the appalling obsolescence which has been so inadequately tackled in 13 years of Tory Government, will not my hon. Friend give an assurance that he will take every step to see that we not only have the matter discussed but get action by consortia right through South Wales and Monmouthshire?

Mr. Finch

I agree with my hon. Friend. Every effort is being made by my right hon. Friend to push on with this very deserving method of building houses in the United Kingdom, and particularly in Wales. I agree with my hon. Friend that it has many advantages. It offers a greater opportunity to use industrial housing methods and provides scope for larger contracts, which result in the provision of continuous work and more favourable prices. Great benefits can accrue as a result of the introduction of consortia house building, and we shall do all we can to press the matter on in the way that my hon. Friend describes.