HC Deb 24 May 1966 vol 729 cc260-1
20. Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government how many houses for owner-occupation were completed in the last six months; how many were started; and how these figures compare with those for the corresponding period in the previous year.

Mr. Crossman

In the six months November 1965 to April 1966 private builders in Great Britain completed 99,300 houses and started 92,800, compared with 110,200 and 119,400, respectively, in the previous year. Most of these will have been for owner-occupation.

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

In the light of those figures, will the right hon. Gentleman say what action he now proposes to take to redeem his election pledges to help owner-occupiers and, in particular, his promise that legislation on mortgage rates and interest is coming forward?

Mr. Crossman

Yes, the right hon. Gentleman knows that we are now discussing the details of the administration of our option mortgage scheme. I have every reason to think that it will not take very long. Then we shall incorporate it in our Housing (Subsidies) Bill and bring it forward.

Mr. Frank Allaun

While welcoming what the Government have done in making retrospective the 4 per cent. interest rates to local authorities, could the Minister consider bringing forward that section of the Housing (Subsidies) Bill to a date earlier than this autumn so as to give the 2½ per cent. reduction to many owner-occupiers, as many of us think that this will be the best fillip of all to the housing programme?

Mr. Crossman

I appreciate my hon. Friend's motive in this, and I agree that it is extremely important that we should reach agreement with the building societies and be able to announce the precise details of the plan. This will he done. This is more important than the exact date of the legislation. What is important is the announcement of the agreement and the details, and that will not be long postponed.