HC Deb 01 November 1966 vol 735 cc215-6
1. Mr. Winnick

asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government what steps are being taken to give greater publicity to the rate rebate scheme.

The Minister of Housing and Local Government (Mr. Anthony Greenwood)

There has been a series of advertisements in the daily and Sunday Press during October to remind people to put in their applications for the second rebate period. I am also hoping to arrange further publicity on television and radio and, in the New Year, to have leaflets made available to people drawing pensions and family allowances.

Mr. Winnick

Would my right hon. Friend not agree that in the beginning there was a complete failure to publicise this excellent scheme? Is he aware that in Croydon there were 800 last-minute applications because of the added publicity? Could he say whether people who come along after the last month will be able to receive the full rebate and will not be discriminated against because they happen to be late?

Mr. Greenwood

I cannot agree that there has been no publicity. There have been 3 million leaflets, broadcasts on radio and television and two Ministerial notices to ratepayers in the Press. It is true that the crash programme which we undertook at the end of September had a marked effect. I asked local authorities to treat late applicants with generosity, but to go as far as the hon. Member suggests would require legislation, and I can hold out no hope of that.

Captain W. Elliot

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that there are considerable anomalies in the operation of the Bill? Is he aware that one person with a small income and owning a house but working to supplement his income would get a considerable rate rebate, whereas another person owning a house and letting a couple of rooms and having no more income cannot get it? Will he look into this?

Mr. Greenwood

That is a very different point.