HC Deb 01 November 1966 vol 735 cc231-2
14. Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government whether he has studied the report by the district auditor on the accounts of the London Borough of Camden, which discloses that in respect of local authority dwellings the amount paid by the ratepayers by way of subsidy in 1966–67 will exceed the amount of rent paid by tenants; and whether, in view of the fact that the Camden Borough Council have failed to discharge their duty under Section 111 of the Housing Act, 1957, to impose reasonable charges for the tenancy, he will set up a local inquiry under Section 173 of that Act.

Mr. MacColl

No, Sir. The district auditor's report does not allege any failure of duty. It refers to an urgent need for the council to review the housing revenue financial position. My right hon. Friend knows the council has had these matters under consideration and he has no reason to suppose that this advice will not be acted on.

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

Is not this a situation which has been developing for the last 18 months? Is the Parliamentary Secretary prepared to connive at a position in which the ratepayers of this borough will be forced to find something like half the rents of their colleagues who have the good fortune to be council tenants? Is it not necessary for a Minister of Housing and Local Government to take action?

Mr. MacColl

I think the position has been arising for much longer than 18 months. The trouble arose from the fact that the new council inherited a very difficult position from the three boroughs of which it is constituted. It is tackling the problem. It has had a survey and is developing a rents policy. I have no reason to suppose that it will not get on with its statutory duty.