HC Deb 01 March 1966 vol 725 cc1085-6
17. Mr. Hamling

asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government when he anticipates reaching a target of 400,000 completed houses in one year.

Mr. Crossman

This year.

Mr. Hamling

Is my right hon. Friend aware that that reply will be received with great satisfaction—[HON. MEMBERS: "It is nonsense."]—not only on these benches but in the constituencies?

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

As the right hon. Gentleman failed to do it last year, what reason have we to believe he will be successful this?

Mr. Crossman

Last year all we achieved—I have to repeat it—was to exceed the Tory record by 9,000. This year we shall build 400,000. In the public sector we shall go widely ahead, and the private sector, provided it can, as I think it will, recover from the slump, should do very well indeed.

Mr. Lubbock

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the number of houses completed in January, 1966, was less than that completed in January, 1965? How does this square up with his claim to build more houses?

Mr. Crossman

I would suggest to the hon. Gentleman that monthly comparisons can be extremely misleading.

Mr. Rose

Can my right hon. Friend say what he anticipates the effects of the housing subsidies will be, particularly with regard to the large conurbations such as Manchester and Liverpool, where, as a result, these areas have fixed higher targets for next year?

Mr. Crossman

We have set all the conurbations much higher targets, and the housing subsidies create the financial possibility, and the only limitation is a limitation we ourselves imposed upon the authorities, because we have to ration them in terms of the public money available.