§ 15. Mr. Ridley
asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government if it is his policy to relate council house rents to the long-run marginal cost of providing houses.
§ 42. Mr. Hooley
asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government what studies are currently in progress in his Department on the effect of interest rates on the housing revenue accounts of local authorities; and if he will make a statement.
§ The Minister for Planning and Land (Mr. Kenneth Robinson)
My right hon. Friend is examining various aspects of housing finance in the light of the N.B.P.I. Report on Increases in Rents of Local Authority Housing and the Report of the Working Party on the Housing Revenue Account. We shall consider what further action is necessary when consultations with the local authorities on both Reports have been completed.
§ Mr. Ridley
Since the nationalised industries have now been instructed to relate their charges to long-run marginal costs, will the right hon. Gentleman confirm—as I think he was endeavouring to do in his slightly complicated Answer—that it is now his intention to relate council house rents to long-run marginal costs, too?
§ Mr. Robinson
It is my right hon. Friend's intention to consider these two reports and the action arising from them when consultations are completed.
§ Mr. Hooley
Is the Minister prepared to consider writing off some of the outstanding capital debt on older housing which is proving a great burden on the housing revenue account?
§ Mr. Robinson
We shall consider a number of possibilities in the light of these reports. However, at this stage I should not like to be drawn towards any particular solution.
§ Mr. Julius Silverman
Is the Minister aware that the proposal made by the 184 hon. Member for Cirencester and Tewkesbury (Mr. Ridley) for introducing marginal costs would result in drastic increases in tens of thousands of council house rents? I hope that the Minister will resist this proposal.
§ Sir C. Osborne
Will the Minister tell the House approximately how much council house rents are increased by having the Bank Rate at 7 per cent. as against the old rate of 5 per cent.?