HC Deb 28 November 1967 vol 755 cc212-3
10. Mr. William Price

asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government what evidence he has that local authorities are adopting the model rent structure recently circulated by his Department.

Mr. Greenwood

Although local authorities do not have to tell me when they introduce, or change, a rent rebate scheme, there is ample evidence that many authorities have either introduced or are considering doing so following this circular. The schemes may vary from the model since they have to be adapted to local circumstances.

Mr. Price

Is it not a fact that, in the Midlands at least, the vast majority of Tory Councils are ignoring this structure? What does the Minister propose to do about those authorities which insist on pursuing policies which are totally unacceptable?

Mr. Greenwood

If my hon. Friend will let me have any cases that he has in mind, I will gladly look at them and consider having discussions with the local authorities involved. I think the whole House would agree that this is a matter which is, in general, best left to the discretion of each local authority, because conditions vary so much from one area to another.

Mr. Rippon

Will the Minister therefore confirm that nothing that the Prime Minister said recently alters the position?

Mr. Greenwood

I am not aware that the Prime Minister has said anything about rent rebate schemes very recently. He said that a number of councils had introduced provocative increases in rents and, as the right hon. and learned Gentleman must know perfectly well, I announced on Saturday that a formal reference to the National Board for Prices and Incomes will be made within the next two weeks.

Mr. Kenneth Lewis

Can the Minister say whether he has had any instructions from the Prime Minister, and when is this likely to go to the Prices and Incomes Board?

Mr. Greenwood

The hon. Gentleman cannot have heard what I just said. I announced on Saturday that this will go to the Prices and Incomes Board within the next two weeks—that means within the next fortnight.