HC Deb 15 May 1969 vol 783 cc1658-727

3.56 p.m.

Mr. Peter Walker (Worcester)

I beg to move, That this House notes with concern the failure of Her Majesty's Government to fulfil their housing programme; and deplores the impact of Government policies upon the costs of mortgages and house-building.

Mr. Speaker

May I announce to the House that I have selected the Amendment in the names of the Prime Minister and his right hon. Friends.

Mr. Walker

During recent months we have had several debates about the failure of the Government's housing programme. Today, I believe for the first time, the Government have decided to move an Amendment to our Motion. The significant thing about the Amendment is that it does nothing to answer our charge that the Government have failed to fulfil their programme. It does not comment upon the rise in the cost of mortgages and it does nothing to counteract the charge of the very substantial increase in the cost of house-building. It links together a series of Government measures and actions which the Government hope will collectively provide them with an excuse for their failure to fulfil their housing target, to keep down the cost of mortgages and to keep down the price of houses.

Before dealing with the Motion, I will refer to what is contained in the Amendment. It contains several comments about the improvement grants and matters contained in the recent Housing Bill. As the Minister knows, both sides of the House welcomed the Bill, and I hope that he will agree that both sides of the Standing Committee were constructive and helpful in the passage of the Bill. We approve of the spirit of what the Government endeavoured to do in that Bill, although we have criticisms of the detail.

The first comment in the Amendment on the number of houses built has the general theme, "We as a Government have built more houses than the Tories built." Probably every Government this century has been able to claim that; it is not an original claim. Doubtless, in the brief for his speech the Minister has the usual figures showing how many more houses the Government completed in their first four years than were completed in the last four years of Conservative Government. If one compares those statistics with the increase in house-building during the first four years of the Tory Government and the last four years of the Labour Government in 1951, the graph of improvement is devastatingly better. That sort of argument will not provide comfort to those who voted Labour at the last election in the belief that there would be more houses at cheaper prices and mortgages at lower cost.

The Minister has the audacity to mention the rent rebate schemes, and I suggest that the Government have responsibly encouraged those. If the Government have encouraged them nationally by guidance to local authorities, the Labour Party and the country have fought them like mad. In the recent local authority elections, the Labour Party at Jarrow put through the letter box of every council house in that constituency on the eve of poll a leaflet saying that at a special meeting of Jarrow Council on 9th December, 1965, Councillor Mr. Bolam moved a motion as follows: 'That the Council start to operate in the Borough of Jarrow a differential rent scheme.' Voting for, six Conservatives; voting against, 16 Labour. This was defeated by a Labour majority. We leave it to you to realise what will happen if the Tories should happen to get control. Those are the two faces which the Labour Party puts on rent rebate schemes.

The Government Amendment refers to the domestic subsidy as something which has assisted ratepayers—one might say at the expense of commerce and industry—in spite of the fact that domestic rates are 25 per cent. higher than they were when Labour came to power. And there is every indication that there will be a substantial rise in the coming year.

As for the volume of houses, which is a matter I shall be exploring in the de- bate, the Government came to power on the firm pledge of 500,000 houses a year. I could spend a good deal of time reciting the great promises made by the Prime Minister, by the present Minister of Housing and Local Government and, indeed, by every Labour candidate, during that election campaign. I inquire of the Minister why the position has changed so rapidly.

I wish to examine the shifting that has taken place in the Labour Party on this subject. During the election the country was given the firm pledge of 500,000 houses. In December, 1966, the Prime Minister, at the Dispatch Box, challenged whether they were still to fulfil the target, repeated the firm pledge of 500,000 houses.

In September, 1967, the present Minister of Housing and Local Government proclaimed, "We are on target". The target was still 500,000 houses. At the time of devaluation in November, 1967, the Prime Minister announced in the House that the priority programme of housing would not be affected by devaluation—a firm, categorical statement. Then, in January, 1968, the new Chancellor of the Exchequer came to the House and said that there would be an adjustment of the 500,000 target as a result of devaluation. That contradicted what the Prime Minister had said.

The Prime Minister was then questioned on this topic. When he was asked by how much the programme would be affected, he made a statement typical of the Prime Minister, in that when one looked at the small print it could be interpreted in a different way. But there is no doubt what he wished to convey to the country. For in that statement he gave the clear indication that in his view the target would fall short by 16,500 houses. To quote his words in the House on 18th January: On the question of the housing programme, in relation to targets the matter has been dealt with by my hon. Friends and myself. There is a cut of 16,500 houses in each of the two years, as compared with the 500,000 target. It is our view that to this extent it will be that much more difficult to reach the 500,000 target; it will be 16,000 houses more difficult."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 18th January, 1968; Vol. 756, c. 1947.] If the Prime Minister's words hold any validity today, I challenge the Minister of Housing to state categorically that the new target will be over 483,500. If it is that target the Minister knows that with the present position of housing starts it will be quite impossible to fulfil.

From that moment onwards the Government started to shift their position. The number of housing starts began to go into decline. Now we are seeing statements from the present Minister that, as a result of devaluation and a reappraisal of the nation's housing needs, we no longer have a 500,000 target. If he has made the reappraisal, let us have the new target.

When challenged on this the Minister says, "We are unwilling to project the target that far ahead." Yet the Government were willing to project the target five years ahead when they wanted the votes of the country. There was a firm pledge of 500,000 made by the Prime Minister which he said was not a pledge lightly given—a pledge which they have broken. They now try to provide excuses as to why there has been a reappraisal. Let us have today from the Minister a clear statement of what is the revised housing target.

I wish to draw the attention of the House to what is actually happening to the programme, and I assure the House that the figures are startingly bad. The Government rest on the fact that last year's completions were a record and went over the 400,000 figure. Ministers continue to make speeches up and down the country on this theme.

The important consideration for the future is the number of starts. Let us look at housing starts year by year since Labour came in. Housing starts in 1964, the last year of a Conservative Government, were 426,000; in 1965, they were 392,000; and, in 1966, 379,000. Then, in 1967—due primarily to the betterment levy, which provoked developers to starts in the phase before the levy arose to avoid paying the levy, as they were entitled to do—there was a sudden boost in starts to 447,000. It is that boost in the starts which produced the good completion figures of last year.

Look at what has happened since then. In 1967, 447,000; in 1968, 394,000—a drop of 50,000. That would be bad enough, but look at what is happening during the first quarter of this year. The starts during that quarter were only 70,000—20,000 down on the first quarter last year. Indeed, the number of housing starts in the first quarter of this year, by a Government pledged to build 500,000 houses a year, was 27,000 less than in the first quarter of 1964, when the Conservatives were in office. This is the sort of drop which we are seeing in housing starts all the time.

Mr. Eric Ogden (Liverpool, West Derby)

Would the hon. Member agree to break down those figures into figures for private houses and those for local authority houses?

Mr. Walker

As far as these figures are concerned, local authority housing in the first quarter of 1964, under the Conservatives, amounted to 45,000. For the first quarter of this year the figure is 35,000.

Mr. Ogden

Will the hon. Gentleman give way?

Mr. Walker

No, I am sorry. The hon. Gentleman may not like the answer I am giving, but he must listen.

For the first quarter of 1964, under the Conservatives, there were 45,000 local authority houses; under the Socialists, 35,000. As to private enterprise houses in the first quarter, 54,000 under the Conservatives; under the Socialists 35,000. They are the figures of starts.

Mr. Ivor Richard (Barons Court)

The hon. Member earlier gave the figures of starts in 1966, 1967 and 1968. For the purposes of comparison would he give a breakdown as between local authority and private housing starts in 1967–68, which is a most significant figure?

Mr. Walker

There is significance in the figures. Starts both in public and private building are going down year by year. They went down from 213,000 to 194,000 and from 233,000 to 200,000. They are the figures.

Mr. W. Howie (Luton)


Mr. Walker

In all fairness, I have given way twice.

Mr. Speaker

I would remind the House that we are engaged on a debate.

Mr. Walker

I realise that these figures must be depressing for hon. Members opposite, because in every sphere of starts they show a decline.

I will compare what has happened in the housing programme with what people were promised by the Labour Government. The words of the Prime Minister were that the housing programme would go up year by year until, by 1970, it reached 500,000 a year. If he had fulfilled that promise and achieved that objective as compared with what he will achieve under present targets, the Labour Government will have built 261,000 more houses by 1970 than they are to build in the present programme.

They have, therefore, fallen short of their target by a large figure. The Minister is often happy to quote an example of town populations. They have fallen short by an equivalent to the whole population of Bradford, Ipswich, Colchester and Worcester—a name which I add with some pleasure. A population equal to the size of those four towns and cities will not be rehoused by 1970 but would have been rehoused had the Labour Government fulfilled their housing promise to build 500,000 houses a year. That is the extent to which they have failed.

Let us look at our second charge—that about mortgages. This difficulty will severely affect the programme over the coming months. The problem is whether people can afford to buy houses. We know the promises. There is no need for me again to give a recital of all the Ministerial promises of lower mortgage rates. Whether the right hon. Member for Belper (Mr. George Brown) said 3 per cent. or not, every other member of the present Cabinet, without exception, promised lower interest rates for house purchase. All they have done is to introduce the mortgage option scheme—and 94 per cent. of the people with mortgages have decided that that has no attraction to them at all. For 94 per cent. of the people with mortgages the Government have done nothing but increase the mortgage rate year by year.

The true problem arises when the relationship between the cost of a mortgage and the average industrial wage gets so much out of line that the person with an average industrial wage cannot buy a home of his own. I will illustrate to what extent this has happened. The average price of a new house in October, 1964, was £3,500. Today, it is £4,500. The mortgage rate then was 6 per cent. and today it is 8½ per cent. Average industrial earnings in October, 1964, were £18 6s. 4d. a week. Today, the figure is £23. The monthly repayments needed to repay a mortgage for the average-priced new house in October, 1964, were £18 2s. 2d. Today, the figure is £29 8s. That is the difference. Industrial earnings have risen by 27 per cent. and the cost of mortgage repayments on the average-priced new house has risen by 60 per cent.

Hon. Members know that when a man asks a building society for a mortgage they frequently suggest the formula that the weekly wage should equal the monthly repayments. That is the most common yardstick which they use. On the figures which I have given, in 1964 it was possible for the man to buy a house—industrial wages £18 6s. 4d. and mortgage repayments £18 2s. 2d. It was possible. In 1969, after four years of the Socialist Government, industrial wages are £23 a week and mortgage repayments are £29 8s. a month. It is impossible. That is the problem which will arise.

What do these people do? They cannot get a mortgage from a building society. They can go to the council chambers and put them names on the housing list. They add to the housing list. If they are newly married, with perhaps one child or no children, they have little chance of being rehoused from many of the lists throughout the country. If they have children they almost certainly cannot obtain privately-rented accommodation. That is the desperate plight facing thousands of young couples after four years of the Labour Government. They are given no hope of buying a home of their own and they have no chance of getting a council house because of the length of the queues in many areas.

We see what happens: they move into overcrowded conditions, families are broken up and there is despair. That will happen on an increasing scale as long as these conditions continue. The broken promises about mortgages are well known to everybody, but the extent to which this will aggravate the housing problem and the extent to which it will slow down the number of new housing starts in the months to come will do immense damage to the solution of the housing problem of the country.

The third part of the Motion deals with the cost of house building. The Government have done nothing to ease that. They have added burdens constantly to the building industry. They have added the burden of the enormous cost of borrowing. They have added the burden of Selective Employment Tax which has penalised this industry from the beginning more than most. It has been wrongly rated as a service industry from the beginning, and considerable damage has been done. All the various provisions of the last Budget, it is estimated, will probably add £100 to the average price of a new house. That is a further burden on the £1,000 per house which the Government have already added to the price of the average new house since they have been in power.

The Government probably won more votes at the last election on the promise of more houses, cheaper houses and lower mortgage rates than on any other single issue. Yet if we judge the Government by those criteria, they have failed to fulfil their promise on the number of houses to be built, they have blatantly failed to fulfil their promise on the cost of mortgages and they have failed to provide either cheaper houses or cheaper land. Their instrument of achieving cheaper land was the Land Commission, and all that that has done is to put up the price of land and to cause a great deal of hardship throughout the country.

That is the combined effect of their failures on the major issues of housing. I grant that the Government have endeavoured to pass some important legislation. I do not underestimate provisions concerning compulsory purchase, better compensation, improvement grants and similar provisions, but at the basic core of the housing problem they have failed miserably.

Mr. Simon Mahon (Bootle)

I agree completely with the hon. Member about the tragedy of young families and the difficulties which they have to bear. But does he not acknowledge that the Labour Government have built 2 million houses since they came into power? If so, is not that the equivalent of the population of the City of London?

Mr. Walker

Perhaps the hon. Gentleman likes those comparisons. But the Labour Government promised to build far more. When they came into office they promised to build 500,000 houses a year by 1970.

That was a promise which the Minister as late as 1967 said was a realistic promise and programme. Why did he say that it was realistic? Because when the Labour Government took over the Ministry of Housing there were 434,000 houses under construction. That was what they inherited from the Conservative Government. But except for the one period under the impetus of the threat of betterment levy, each year there has been a decline in new housing starts.

Every Government this century could boast that they built more houses than the previous Government, and for a nation such as ours I hope that that will always remain true. The measure of the present Government's failure is that by 1970 they will have built 231,000 houses fewer than they promised to build when they addressed the electorate at the last election.

The judgment can best be expressed by the right hon. Member for Bermondsey (Mr. Mellish), who was Minister of Public Building and Works and who now occupies the position of Chief Whip and Patronage Secretary. He concluded his speech in a housing debate in the House on 9th March, 1966, with these words: I want the country to look at the number of houses which we have built, the efforts we have made and are making to ensure that we achieve our realistic target of 500,000 houses by 1970, and our determination to do what is necessary for the people in greatest need. I ask no more than that the country pass its judgment on that."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 9th March, 1966; Vol. 725, c. 2177.] I ask the same.

4.20 p.m.

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

I beg to move, to leave out from "House" to the end of the Question and to add instead thereof: congratulates Her Majesty's Government on the success of its housing policy, as a result of which it is anticipated that by the end of 1969 two million new houses will have been completed since the General Election of 1964; on its reform of town and country planning; on its welcome proposal now before Parliament for the payment of some generous improvement grants on old houses, for the speeding up of slum clearance, and for the removal of the grossly unfair bases for compensation payable to owner-occupiers in clearance areas whom previous Conservative administrations failed to help; on its effective action against escalating rents and its encouragement of long-overdue rent rebate schemes; on the provision of a domestic rate subsidy for the current year of 1s. 3d. in the £ in England and Wales, 2s. 6d. in the £ in Scotland; on its recent improvement of the rate rebate scheme introduced by the present Government and of very great value to ratepayers most in need of help; on the increased assistance it has given to voluntary housing associations providing housing by improvement and conversion; and on its provision of option mortgages and the help towards home ownership". Perhaps I might begin by correcting the hon. Member for Worcester (Mr. Peter Walker) on one point. This is not the first time that we have tabled a reasoned Amendment. Indeed, we tabled a reasoned Amendment on 19th March and we have repeated that practice on this occasion.

This is the third time in the same number of months that we have debated housing. We also had a party political broadcast by the hon. Gentleman which, I must say, was a performance of remarkable, if rather exaggerated, virtuosity.

I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for giving us yet another opportunity of describing what the Government have done, are doing, and will do in housing. I am grateful, because I welcome any opportunity of drawing attention to the magnitude of the housing problem. That is why I welcome—and I think all hon. Member's welcome—the activities of bodies like Shelter, because they help to rouse the conscience of our people to the difficulties of the housing situation.

The size of the housing programme depends upon the strength of the economy. If our people are to will the end of a larger programe they will have to will the means as well. The Notting Hill report—I am grateful to Mr. George Clark and his colleagues who worked on it—shows that there is no room for complacency. I will not expand on the Notting Hill Report, because there is to be an Adjournment debate on it tonight, and I have arranged to meet the local authorities concerned in the near future. I simply say that when the Opposition turn the searchlight on the Government they should also examine the number of Conservative local authorities whose house building records are less than inspiring.

Mr. David Winnick (Croydon, South)

Would my right hon. Friend say, first, that the Report showed the value of the Rent Act 1965, which gave security of tenure? Secondly, will he consider extending the Rent Act to cover furnished occupation in multi-occupied premises, because there are a number of racketeering landlords who use furnished accommodation to escape the security of tenure provision?

Mr. Greenwood

I appreciate my hon. Friend's intervention. The Report raises a large number of matters. Before going into it in detail, I think that it would be right to discuss it with the local authorities concerned. I have already had a preliminary talk with Mr. Clark. Certainly, we will give the most careful consideration to the various suggestions that have been made, while emphasising that the basic responsibility rests with the London boroughs and also with the Greater London Council.

The hon. Member for Worcester showed some reluctance and disquiet at the fact that I might refer to previous statistics. I hope that the House will forgive me if I try to put the statistics in their context.

It is right to remind the House that between 1961 and 1964 the number of new houses completed in the public sector was 528,700. Between 1965 and 1968 the number of new houses completed in the public sector was 744,200. That is an increase of 215,500 or 40.8 per cent.

Turning to the private sector, between 1961 and 1964 there were 745,300 new houses completed. Between 1965 and 1968 the number was 841,600. That is an increase of 96,300 or 12.9 per cent. The total number built between 1961 and 1964 was 1,274,000. Between 1965 and 1968 it was 1,586,000. That is an increase of 312,000, or 24 per cent. over the preceding four years. I have no doubt that when the five-year figures are available they will show a still bigger increase.

I should like the House to remember that these houses are being built to a significantly higher standard than the houses completed between 1961 and 1964. If we had been prepared to continue to tolerate the poorer standards which characterised house building under the Conservative Government, I believe that we would have completed between 50,000 and 100,000 more.

I remind the House, before leaving this point, that during that time we have achieved record figures for slum clearance as well. If that is a record of failure, I can only say that nothing fails like success. If that is a failure, the more failures there are the better it will be.

I turn now to the immediate situation. The hon. Member for Worcester referred to the number of starts and the number of completions in the first three months of this year. In the first quarter of 1969 there were 35,500 starts in the public sector. In the first quarter of last year the figure was 40,000, so we are down 4,500. In the private sector, the number of starts was 35,400. In 1968 it was 50,500, so we are down 15,100. The total of the two is 70,900 this year compared with 90,500 in 1968—a drop of 19.6 per cent.

Completions, also, are disappointing. In the public sector they are down from 45,000 to 40,900. In the private sector they are down from 52,600 to 42,600—a total drop of 14,100. I have described those figures as disappointing, and I am prepared to give the reasons why.

Mr. Graham Page (Crosby)

By mistake, I think that the Minister said there was a drop of 19.6 per cent. I think he really meant a drop of 19,600.

Mr. Greenwood

I am sorry. I certainly meant 19,600.

The reasons are, I think, well known to the House. The weather in February and March was wetter and colder than usual, and foundations cannot be laid when there is frost. The effect of Ronan Point was also serious, and there had been a slow rate of approvals until the last quarter of 1968.

But the interesting thing about approvals in 1968 was that in the last quarter 75,000 dwellings were approved for tender, which is the highest figure for any quarter. This massive bunching of approvals in the last quarter of the year will lead to an upturn in starts later this year.

Mr. Peter Walker

To see whether the trend is continuing, may I ask the Minister to give the figure for approvals in the first quarter? Was it not very much down on the first quarter of last year?

Mr. Greenwood

Approvals in the first quarter of this year?

Mr. Peter Walker


Mr. Greenwood

It is true that the figure was down. I am coming to that point in a moment.

The House should know that last year the whole of the English programme of approvals for 1968 was taken up in full and that the pipeline of houses approved but not yet started was recharged by 75,000 approvals at the end of 1968.

The hon. Member for Worcester mentioned approvals. In the first quarter of this year, approvals were running at a low rate. That was partly because schemes which would otherwise have been approved in January had to be advanced into December, 1968, to take up the shortfall of 7,000 in London's allocation, and partly because some authorities were holding back schemes awaiting revision of the cost yardstick.

The House will be pleased to know, or at least my hon. Friends will be pleased to know, that the weekly rate of approvals picked up appreciably to over 2,000 a week for the first of three weeks after Easter, and nearly 4,000 in the fourth week. The low rate of approvals so far in 1969 does, however, mean that starts in the second half will be below what one would hope they would be. The comletions rate in the first quarter of the year was low also, and I have said what the reason was for that.

In the private sector the disappointing figures for the first quarter reflected not only the bad weather, but the mortgage stringency which characterised the early months of this year. If mortgages become easier to come by, house sales should pick up, and could quickly lead to an improved rate of starts. The low level of private completions in the first quarter of 1969 is directly related to the relatively low level of mortgage commitments from September to December, 1968.

The hon. Gentleman made a great deal of play with the figures of 70,900 starts in the first quarter of this year, and 83,500 completions in the same period. I thought that the hon. Gentleman was a little selective in his statistics. I should like to compare our figure, which I say is a disapopinting one, of 70,900 starts in the first quarter with the figure of 53,000 starts in the first quarter of 1963. The hon. Gentleman mentioned only 1964, which of course was an election year, but what he describes as disappointing figures are better than were achieved in four of the last eight years of the Conservative Government.

Mr. A. P. Costain (Folkestone and Hythe)

Does the right hon. Gentleman recall that that year there were three months of frost; that it was a record poor winter? The right hon. Gentleman has referred to two weeks of frost this year being responsible for the figures he has quoted. He must be fair in these matters.

Mr. Greenwood

The hon. Gentleman walked into that one. I heard hon. Gentlemen opposite jeering when I referred to extremely difficult weather conditions in the first quarter of this year, and even a Conservative Government have to face bad weather conditions from time to time. The point is that for four of the last eight years of the Conservative Government they failed to achieve what they regard as the disappointing results that we have had in the first quarter of this year.

The hon. Gentleman made great play of the fact that 83,500 completions had been—

Mr. Eric Lubbock (Orpington)

The right hon. Gentleman referred to the poor figures achieved by the Tories in 1963, which was pre-election year, and he showed how they picked up in 1964. Will the right hon. Gentleman give the House a promise that, as election year approaches, in 1970 the figure for starts will recover again?

Mr. Greenwood

That shows a cynicism which is most uncharacteristic of the hon. Gentleman. I am sure that he would never suspect me of adopting as cynical an approach as that.

The disappointing figure of 83,500 completions in the first quarter of this year compares with 47,000 completions in the first quarter of 1963, 68,300 in the first quarter of 1962, and, going right back to 1958, completions were running in the 60,000's. The extremely disappointing figures to which the hon. Gentleman re- ferred are substantially better than were achieved during the period of the Conservative Government. Saying that does not mean that I am complacent, and I am not indifferent to the anxieties about the situation, as I have expressed publicly on more than one occasion.

There is no point in going back to the speech which the hon. Gentleman keeps making about 500,000 houses. The hon. Gentleman makes his point, and I make my reply that the figure was realistic until devaluation. After devaluation, with the need to restrict public expenditure, and with the need to divert labour into manufacturing industry, that target became unrealistic. I have said since then that I am aiming to get completed each year the largest number of houses which the economic circumstances of the country permit.

I can sum up the position at the moment by saying that in spite of what I concede to be disappointing returns for the first quarter I do not envisage any dramatic change this year in either starts or completions, but the point was well made by my hon. Friend the Member for Bootle (Mr. Simon Mahon) when he said that by the end of this year the 2 millionth house will have been completed since a Labour Government came to power, and that has relieved very considerably the pressure on the housing market.

Mr. Peter Walker

Will the right hon. Gentleman therefore confirm that the Prime Minister's last promise of 473,000 houses in 1970 is no longer the target?

Mr. Greenwood

I cannot quite follow the mathematics which lead the hon. Gentleman to that conclusion, but I shall study HANSARD carefully. We have said quite fairly since January, 1968, that the target of 500,000 could not be achieved. Since then we are aiming at the largest number that it is possible to get in any one year.

That will depend on two factors. One is the record of some local authorities, and the other is the availability of mortgage finance. I have never criticised local authorities who, on a change of political control, think it desirable to reappraise the need for housing in their areas. I think that that is a proper and prudent step for them to take, but what I do criticise very much is that towns like Bradford and Oldham, once they have come under Conservative control, should decide to reduce their building programmes, and indeed to eliminate them in some cases.

In Bradford in 1966 the number of approved houses going out to tender was 1,264. In 1968 it was four. With any luck this year it may be 147. Bradford had a large housing programme until the spring of 1967, when the change of political control took place. Thereafter, no new contracts were let. In 1966 the Ministry approved more than 1,200 dwellings, and in January, 1967, it approved an estate of 215 houses. Since then only a further 20 dwellings have been approved, and it is now two and a quarter years since the last new proposals for council building in Bradford were submitted. That is what I mean when I say that hon. Gentlemen opposite who criticise the Government should turn the spotlight on to an examination of what some Conservative councils are doing.

Mr. Walter Clegg (North Fylde)

rose— —

Mr. Greenwood

I have a great respect, bordering on affection, for the hon. Gentleman, but I have given way on a number of occasions, and I know that many hon. Members want to take part in this debate.

In the case of Morley, the 106 tender approvals in 1966 were down to 33 in 1968, and none is expected in 1969. In Batley the 503 approvals in 1966 are down to none expected in 1969. In Oldham the 1,519 approvals in 1966 are down to 27 expected in 1969. This shows the great difficulty that is experienced if, in areas where we know there is an acute housing need, local authorities decide that the house building programme should be cut.

I said that what happened in future depended not only on what the local authorities were doing, but on the availability of money for mortgages. When we debated these subjects on 19th March and 28th April, we discussed in some detail the reasons for high interest rates. It is no good trying to avoid the issue that the high interest rates operating in this country today are largely a reflection of world economic conditions, but there has been some improvement in the mortgage position.

I remember how savagely the building societies were criticised in this House for having raised their rates in March. I have before me the latest figures—published today, and seasonally adjusted. The net receipts rose from £74 million in March to £95 million in April—an increase of about 28 per cent. I know that it is still early to be too positive about the inflow of money into the building societies, but the situation has improved. There is a good deal more optimism in building societies than there was, and I noticed, on Tuesday, an article in the Sun headed "Easier Home Loans Soon." In The Guardian today I see that Mr. Brown, of the Temperance Permanent Building Society, and President of the Building Societies Institute, said last night: There is no real sign of any check to continued growth. I believe that there is growing confidence in the building society world. I want once again to place on record my appreciation for the contribution that the building societies have made to the housing programme, and for the contribution made by those who have lent their money so that others can buy houses.

The hon. Member for Worcester passed his usual strictures on the Government's option mortgage scheme. I cannot say that I was surprised. He had said before in the House that the failure of the scheme was shown by the fact that 90 per cent. of the people with mortgages refused to take advantage of it. I submit that the success of the scheme is shown by the fact that 10 per cent. of the people with mortgages do take advantage of it. [Interruption.] I do not believe that the hon. Member for Ormskirk (Sir D. Glover) took an active part in our discussions on the Housing Subsidies Bill in 1967, but those who remember those discussions will recall that we estimated that 5 per cent. of existing borrowers would switch to the scheme and 10 per cent. of new borrowers would take advantage of it. Events have justified remarkably completely the accuracy of the forecast that we made at that time.

Captain Walter Elliot (Carshalton)

rose— —

Mr. Greenwood

I am sorry, but I cannot give way. I have already given way five times.

There is one disturbing aspect of the option mortgage question: the option mortgage subsidy is not worth as much now as when it was brought in. Before hon. Members opposite begin giggling too much about that, let me admit it quite frankly. When the scheme was introduced the subsidy was expressed, for the ordinary building society kind of mortgage, as a flat 2 per cent. reduction of the interest charged to the mortgagor. There were good reasons for expressing it in that way. I need not dwell on them now. But while the subsidy has remained as a flat rate the interest charged by building societies has risen. When the 2 per cent. subsidy was worked out the interest rate recommended by the Building Societies Association was 6¾ per cent. Since then it has risen, by steps, to 8½ per cent. When we introduced the scheme a family man with modest earnings, by opting into it, could put himself into a position comparable with that of a man who could get tax relief on earned income taxed at the standard rate. We cannot claim that now. That is a matter for profound regret. It is also a signal for speedy remedial action.

We have given a great deal of careful thought to this matter, and my right hon. Friend and I have therefore tabled today a new Clause, for consideration on the Report stage of the Housing Bill, dealing with this problem. If it is approved it will enable my right hon. Friend and myself to make an order, or orders, improving the option mortgage subsidy. I had hoped for—but had not expected—rather more enthusiasm from hon. Members opposite.

Mr. Peter Walker

We are naturally enthusiastic, having pressed the Minister to do this for some months, but is he merely taking power to do this or actually doing it?

Mr. Greenwood

The first thing is to take the power to do things and then, later, to do them. I must first give myself power to do it. Surely, by saying what he has said, the hon. Member is not suggesting that we can do things without having legislative and statutory powers behind us. There is no power in the option mortgage scheme at present to vary the subsidy that is paid. We are taking steps to do so. Hon. Members will be able to consider the Amendment, which will be tabled as a new Clause to the Bill, and it will be discussed in the House next week.

Mr. Peter Walker

I recognise that power must be taken to do this, but is it the Minister's object to do it as soon as he has the power or when the economy of the country improves?

Mr. Greenwood

We shall do it as soon as practicable after the necessary legislation has been put through. If the House really wants me to do so I can go into the new Clause in detail, but we shall have an opportunity to discuss it next week. At the moment the best thing is for me to say simply that what we seek is a more flexible power to adjust the subsidy in order to take account of changes in interest rates and tax arrangements, for we intend to keep faith both with the mortgagors who have opted into the scheme—of whom there are more than 300,000—and with those who, since the introduction of the scheme, have seen in it a hope of home ownership in the future such as hon. Members opposite did not give them.

That is one new Clause that we are tabling. Perhaps at this point I can say how much I appreciated the helpful and constructive discussion that we had in Standing Committee on the Housing Bill. I hope that that attitude of amity and constructive criticism will persist on Report, next week and when we discuss the new Clause to which I have referred.

Hon. Members opposite will be interested to know that we are also tabling a new Clause dealing with the Leasehold Reform Act. There has been a certain amount of disquiet about the way in which the Act is operating. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State has taken a keen and sensitive interest in this problem, and I very much hope that when he winds up the debate tonight he will be able to deal with this problem in greater detail than it would be proper for me to do now. I know that this new Clause will be wildly welcomed not only in the House but in many areas outside.

I want also to talk briefly about the use that we have made of our powers under the Prices and Incomes Act in respect of council house rents. I have rejected 188—that is, about one third—of the new proposals for rent increases submitted to me, and about 1 million tenants in England have benefited directly through the reduction, postponement or abandonment of rent increases, quite apart from the less tangible but real effect that the Act has had as a deterrent to other authorities who might have increased rents irresponsibly.

I want to give some examples of authorties who have been prevented from making what I consider to be unnecessary rent increases. The Greater London Council put forward a proposal for increases in October, 1968. They were reduced from an average of 11s. 7d. a week and a maximum of 22s. 6d. a week to an average of 7s. 6d. a week and a maximum of 10s. The proposals which were submitted to me for a further increase of nearly 7s. 6d. a week, to be made in October, 1969, were rejected altogether. We have also made substantial reductions in rent increases made before the 1968 Act became law. At Walsall the average increase was reduced from 13s. 7d. to 8s. 6d. a week. In the London borough of Harrow a Ministerial direction reduced the average increase from 20s. to 7s. 6d. a week.

I also emphasise that it is the Government's policy that tenants with low incomes should be protected by adequate rent rebate schemes. The hon. Member for Worcester referred to this and went on to talk about differential rent schemes, without seeming to appreciate the difference between the two. This has always been a matter of controversy, on which views have been divided in the Labour Party for a long time, but, since I have been Minister, I have put all the power that I have behind the introduction of rent rebate schemes, wherever they are appropriate to local circumstances. As a result of the encouragement and the guidance which we have given, three-quarters of council house tenants in England are now covered by rent rebate schemes. That is a great step forward and I am surprised that the hon. Member for Worcester was not more enthusiastic about it.

As to rate rebate schemes, the hon. Member talked about rates being higher than they were under the Conservatives. Of course, local authorities are doing more than they were doing under the Conservative Government, but the real point is that we are the first Government who have made a real attempt to get the escalation of rate poundages under control. The increase has been slowed down, and the domestic element has been introduced so that domestic ratepayers are protected. I am sure that many people will have noted the hon. Gentleman's remark that this has been done, to some extent at the expense of industrial ratepayers, but domestic ratepayers have been helped by the domestic element. This means that, this year, they are 1s. 3d. in the £ better off than they would have been.

We have helped them, but—this is one of the things on which I have never understood why the party opposite was so ineffectual—the total estimated figure for rate rebates in England and Wales this year is between £13 million and £13½ million. This compares with the estimated expenditure last year of £12½ million. The average rebate per householder who qualifies is £16 10s. a year and the estimated number of recipients in 1968–69 was 840,000. That means that 840,000 householders were each that much better off than without this legislation.

I hope that I have shown that I have come here today in no apologetic mood. I believe that our record compares very favourably with that of hon. Members opposite. Approximately 2 million families will be in new homes by the end of this year. There has been a great improvement in the planning system. We have given more generous help for the improvement of old houses, we have given long overdue justice to owner-occupiers, we have provided for an option mortgage scheme and, now for the improvement and amendment of that scheme. One million council tenants are paying smaller rents than they would have paid without the action which we have taken, nearly 1 million rate-payers are £16 a year better off. That may be failure to the Tory Party, but I believe that, to the public, it means not only success but hope.

4.55 p.m.

Mr. Oscar Murton (Poole)

I am tempted to pursue the Minister along his labyrinthine path in discussing the rent schemes which he has refused to allow. Possibly we could find out more details in future—perhaps by Questions. I wonder how many of these schemes were necessary because of the restructuring of housing subsidies before the Housing Subsidies Act. There is no subsidy available to restructure those loans, so they are at a higher rate of interest, and, if the rent is not raised, it inevitably becomes a burden on the ratepayer, if the housing revenue account cannot stand a surplus. I may be wrong, but it would be interesting to know in how many cases that applies.

Naturally, I welcome the thought that the option mortgage scheme will be reconstructed. I fear that, when he issued his original pamphlet, the Minister did not know what would happen. It was rather rigidly phrased. I have told him before that some of my constituents were "after his blood". Perhaps, after what we hear next week, on the Report stage of the Housing Bill, they may withdraw their immediate desire to attack him so much.

When we talk about option mortgages and the Government's help to home ownership, I would remind them that, in a somewhat ex cathedra statement when Leader of the Opposition, the Prime Minister said on 12th September, 1963: By intelligent monetary policies, Labour will bring mortgages within the reach of young couples living on average incomes. After a number of years, that statement sounds hollow. It epitomises the boundless optimism with which the Labour Party sprang into the breach after winning the 1964 election and ever since has shown itself, particularly over housing, incapable of governing.

Those brave words were also echoed by the erstwhile henchman of the Prime Minister, the right hon. Member for Belper (Mr. George Brown) who, in a notable contribution to his party's long list of broken promises, said: We shall run the economy of this country as it has never been run before. Perhaps I was wrong in calling that a broken promise, since it has been effectively kept.

What is the result? Building society mortgages are at 8½ per cent. The average wage of the industrial worker is now insufficient to qualify for a mortgage. On 19th March, I suggested that a man bor- rowing £5,000 over 25 years now needs a minimum salary of £40 a week to buy a house. Imagine the difficulty of that, when he probably has a young family as well. This is a very serious situation.

Following on that, the standby of those who hope to begin home ownership are local authority mortgages, which are normally available to young married people who have begun by buying an older property, before moving on to their dream of something new. That is not happening, because of the progressive reductions in the amount which the Government have made available for lending by local authority mortgages over the past four years.

The figures are interesting. In 1965–66, £191 million was allowed. In the following year, it had dropped to £135 million. In 1967–68, it had dropped again to £130 million and in the following year to £95 million. This year, it has sunk right down to a miserable £30 million. Yet the Labour Party promised to help the owner-occupier by providing a 100 per cent. mortgage through local councils. If that is the Government's "independent monetary policy" of 1963, it is a poor effort.

Mr. Simon Mahon (Bootle)

The hon. Gentleman is not pleased with the Government's performance. We are all aware of the difficulties over many years and we appreciate what both Governments have done. But other figures are more significant than financial figures. Would he give the social figures for the improvements in infant or maternity mortality rates in the great City of Liverpool and in my constituency of Bootle, which, from being astronomical, have been reduced, particularly by this Government's effort, to well below national averages?

Mr. Murton

I am not prepared to dispute that, since I could not begin to know the improvement and would require notice of that question. But, as time goes on, the figures must improve anywhere in Europe, I should have thought.

The Labour election manifesto of 1964 said: At the same time, we shall go ahead with a sustained programme to provide more homes at prices which ordinary people can afford. The truth is that the young people will not forget how the Labour Government have broken faith with them in this matter.

I listened with interest to the Minister's words about housing starts and completions. My hon. Friend the Member for Worcester (Mr. Peter Walker) has dealt with the famous, or infamous, magic phrase, "500,000 houses". I intended to ask the Minister what he intends shall be the target for the next two years. He has been careful this time. He has probably learned from his predecessor and his right hon. Friend the Prime Minister to be careful about issuing figures. I thought that he would claim that the undoubted improvement of old housing has taken up some of the money which might have been used for new. I do not know whether it was intentional policy that there should be a corresponding reduction in new construction, or whether this is just a side effect—possibly even a smoke screen.

What is the target, and does the right hon. Gentleman think that he will reach it? He has been rather coy about this, but, if he is not prepared to say, I would guess, without any concrete information—I do not have the benefit of the Minister's figures—that, in 1969 and 1970, completions will hover around the 400,000 mark and that we will not get near the 440,000 target announced in January, 1968. Perhaps we may be told more tonight of what is in the Minister's mind.

I am keen on the 1964 Labour manifesto, which I find interesting bedside reading or for reading at any other time. It made the portentous statement: It is no good having paper plans for houses if you have not the bricks to build them. I am told by the experts that we have plenty of bricks—947 million. It is the paper plans which the country needs to know, and not—this may be a cliché, but I hope that it causes some wrath on the other side of the House—paper plans by paper tigers. Paper houses are all right in Japan, but not in England and Wales.

The quotation goes on: As a result of public acquisition, building land can be made available at cheaper prices". There are no prizes to be won for guessing that it referred to the Land Commission.

The Government Amendment refers to "help towards home ownership". It is interesting to note that the Labour Party's 1966 manifesto stated: In the Crown Land Commission we are fashioning an instrument to secure a sufficiently orderly supply of land". In terms of home ownership, the private sector of the building industry has been hamstrung by the very fact that the Land Commission exists. It has not provided an ordinary supply of land so far and I doubt very much whether it will live long enough to do so. It has done nothing but force the price of land upwards.

I concede that there has been some reform of the town and country planning procedures. I had the pleasure of working with the right hon. Gentleman in a Committee upstairs on this subject. However, we need a fresh approach to the whole concept of land planning. The Land commission, coupled with an artificial shortage, has forced the price of housing up.

We know all about rising costs which put up the price of the building on the land, but there is an artificial shortage of land because people will not release their land for fear of being hit by betterment levy. In the debate yesterday I gave details of a case which has received much publicity in the newspapers. In this case, a constituent of mine is being assessed for levy when development may not even be taking place. People are frightened and are not prepared to release their land. I appreciate their fears, but this state of affairs is bad for housing.

Similarly, local authorities are not receiving the guidance they should be getting about the release of land to private house builders. I have good reason to believe that, generally speaking, they release land only three years ahead of demand. If we are to get to grips with the house building problem, land must be released further ahead. I appreciate that this is a difficult matter and that the conciliationists will say that the countryside would disappear if this were done.

This is not so because the land in question is already in the planners' mind. It is simply that they will not release it sufficiently far ahead to allow the developers and builders to produce the houses that we urgently need.

We are told that there is a crude surplus of housing. It is crude only because it does not exist. A large number of houses still require to be built in urban areas to meet the existing shortage. I urge the Government to do something, in the short time that remains to them, to release land, for the Land Commission, with its supposedly orderly releasing system, is incapable of doing the job.

5.10 p.m.

Mr. Douglas Jay (Battersea, North)

Most people in my constituency will find unconvincing the efforts of hon. Gentlemen opposite today to criticise what they describe as the Government's housing failure when the housing shortage, which is extremely acute in London, is being made even worse by the action of Tory councils. Most people will be more impressed by the measures that are being taken by Tory councils than by what hon. Gentlemen opposite are now saying.

An example of what I mean has occurred in my constituency, where we are extremely grateful to the Minister for his action in preventing the Tory G.L.C. from raising rents by anything like the figures that it would have preferred. Another example from my constituency is the present proposal of the Tory Wandsworth Council to hand over nearly a hundred council-owned houses to a private housing trust which has no proper system of priorities for choosing people in real need. In this case the right solution for the area would have been wholesale clearance and redevelopment, as was proposed by the former Labour council.

Failing that, it was, in my view, the plain duty of the present council to have at least modernised the houses, which were already in council ownership, and then to have let them to those who were worst off at the top of the priority list, most of whom had already been waiting for years. Instead, in this case only 50 per cent. of the tenants in the houses to be handed over to the housing trust will come from the council's housing list.

That is bad enough, considering the existing housing shortage in London. It is even worse when one finds that grants and loans from public money are in this case being made available to this trust, whether or not it lets these houses to those who are in need. No doubt this housing trust, like others, is a worthy and reputable body, but it is wrong that public money should be used to subsidise houses unless the tenants are nominated from a publicly accountable housing list.

This situation has arisen in Battersea because my right hon. Friend refused to confirm a clearance order for the area concerned, relying for his refusal on a report from one of his inspectors which, as I have told him, I believe was a faulty report. I will not pursue that argument today because the Parliamentary Commissioner has promised to investigate the matter. However, I regret that, having told my right hon. Friend that I was applying to the Commissioner, the Minister granted loan sanction in this case to permit the council to take action, to sell these houses and, thus, in effect, prejudice the investigation of the Commissioner. I appreciate that my right hon. Friend acted within his legal powers. But there does not seem to be much use in hon. Members referring issues to the Parliamentary Commissioner if his investigations are to be prejudiced meanwhile by actions taken by Ministers.

One method of improving the housing situation, certainly in the great cities like London, would be for the Government to prevent councils from selling council-owned houses to bodies which have no proper priority lists, and for the Government to refrain from making public money available for them to do so.

Another method—I believe that this would be an even more effective way of improving the situation—would be to stop the destruction of perfectly good existing houses, which is now taking place in our cities on a major scale for the building of urban roads. It is no good simply talking about housing starts without noticing that a large number of perfectly good houses are being threatened with destruction.

I do not know how many people realise that thousands of homes, particularly in our big cities, are being destroyed every year simply to make way for new roads. I hope that, when the Secretary of State for Wales replies, he will give the number of houses likely to be destroyed during this year alone for this purpose.

According to my information, which may be imperfect, nearly 4,000 homes are being destroyed—I am not referring to one year, but overall—for road building purposes in Glasgow, over 3,000 in Cardiff, and many hundreds each in Birmingham, Coventry, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester and the West Riding. Yet these and particularly London are precisely the areas where the housing shortage is most acute. In London the G.L.C. is proposing to build urban motorways which would on its own estimate mean the destruction of homes at present housing 60,000 people. There is growing evidence that this is a serious underestimate.

I believe that this policy is totally wrong in the existing housing shortage; that it would make the London housing problem insoluble for a generation; and that it is wholly unjustifiable to force people to live indefinitely in the conditions which now exist, for example, in North Kensington—I notice my hon. Friend the Member for Kensington North (Mr. George Rogers) in his place—and Battersea, as well as in many other similar areas, just so that traffic may travel faster.

These urban motorways have a trebly damaging effect on the prospect of better housing. First they destroy existing houses in the way I have described, I think on a greater scale than people realise; secondly they take away—this would be particularly the case in my constituency—precious land on which new houses could have been built; the land shortage is extreme in our great cities; and thirdly they inflate the cost of the road programme far beyond what I believe is reasonable, and so cut down still further the financial and other resources available for housing.

The London Motorway Box project—only one of four proposed rings for London—would destroy the existing homes of at least 40,000 people, including in my constituency some excellent new council housing estates which were built in the last five years.

By all means let us have motorways between cities and round cities, but I do not believe that any case has been made out for driving them through cities, and so causing wholesale frustration of housing plans. As far as I know, Parliament has never taken a decision to sacrifice homes on this scale to roads. Nor, I suspect, has any Cabinet or group of Ministers ever taken such a decision.

Plans seems to have been hatched by enthusiastic though perhaps rather narrow sighted engineers, and have then been light-heartedly adopted by local councils suffering from delusions of municipal grandeur. There has never been a proper assessment in terms of both costs and benefits of these urban motorways from the housing point of view, and of the alternative policies, which might have been followed. That is apart from Edinburgh which seems to have had, with some help from the Secretary of State for Scotland, the good sense and good taste to turn down a proposal to drive a motorway through that city.

If the Government are really serious in seeking to attack the deplorable housing conditions which still survive in our cities, they will review these ill-considered motorway plans and cancel—I say cancel and not postpone; postponement is not good enough because it causes blight—all of those which threaten the massive destruction of homes.

If the Chancellor of the Exchequer wants to find more money, whether for the National Health Service or housing, here is a way for him to do it, and for once, instead of incurring odium from everybody, earn enormous gratitude from hundreds of thousands of people whose homes are now threatened by road projects.

5.20 p.m.

Mr. Walter Clegg (North Fylde)

A point made by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Battersea, North (Mr. Jay) and by the Minister, and a point that was cheered by hon. Members opposite, was that the public are well satisfied with the housing achievements of the Labour Government. If that is the case, it is very strange that 900 Labour councilors were sacked last week.

I found the Minister's speech disturbing. He claimed that he was not complacent, yet it must be complacency to seek to cast on one side the fact that the original target of 500,000 houses by 1970 will not be met. That attitude is disturbing because, presumably, the party opposite thought it necessary to reach that target by 1970. Any shortfall in numbers will not only retard the housing target but will mean that many people will have to go on living in unfit accommodation. If the Government thought that target to be necessary, they cannot now just sweep it under the carpet because conditions have changed. It is therefore important to realise that the housing programme is lagging behind the target set by the Government themselves. That fact has serious implications.

The Minister said that he had been able to interfere to keep down rents. In such interference there may be an immediate advantage to the tenants, but certainly not to the ratepayers. In the long term it means taking away money from housing, because the money that would otherwise have been paid by the tenants would have gone to balance the housing revenue accounts, and then to increase the balance. Local authorities would then have had a firm base on which to develop.

Even after devaluation, the public purse can no longer provide the houses in the public sector which the Minister himself says are needed. It cannot be done, even by increasing the price of spectacles and teeth, which is to enable comprehensive education to go on. Housing requires much greater sums.

I was also worried when the Minister—and I suppose that politically and tactically he is quite right—commented on what Conservative controlled councils are doing in housing. I suppose that we would speak in the same way were the position reversed. Nevertheless, I hope that the Minister will not be allowed, as others of his colleagues are, to continue to interfere with local authorities in the running of their own affairs. There has already been interference with rents. I beg the right hon. Gentleman to go no further down that lane, or all the talk of devolution of authority will mean nothing.

The present housing set up has a fairly rigid division. We have owner-occupation, to which both sides are now committed, and we have the public sector, which comprises municipally controlled housing. It is the public sector that give me pause. It is not that the housing standards in the public sector are low or that the rents are too high: what concerns me is the quality of the life of the tenants in those houses.

The legal rights of those tenants are absolutely minimal. They have only one legal right, and that is to receive 28 days' notice to quit. To be fair to local authorities, as long as tenants behave themselves and do what the local authorities tell them to do, it is very unlikely that they will be given notice to quit. On the other hand, if they do disagree with what the local authority is doing in this respect no court has power to protect them against action by the local authority. Their position is quite different from that of the tenants of private landlords.

This lack of a legal stake in the property has very far-reaching affects. It is very difficult for a council house tenant to move within his local authority housing, and almost impossible for him to move from authority to authority. This is not a political issue, but something for all parties to consider. We are in danger of creating in our council estates, which represent about one-third of our total housing, a frozen society; a society cast in a rigid mould because it has not the ability to move. It is not that it does not want to move. Perhaps it would be good for it to move to places where workers are needed—

Mr. Jay

If this is true, is it not a pity that because of Tory policy the G.L.C. is handing over a very large number of its flats and houses to the London boroughs and thereby restricting freedom of movement?

Mr. Clegg

I do not think that that affects the argument. Transfer from the G.L.C. to another type of borough is beside the point. The difficulty lies in the legal tenure—the rights of the tenants.

I want to see a new system established whereby the tenants have some rights, and their ability to move is not at the will of a housing officer or a housing committee. The present procedure is that a council tenant wishing to move gets in touch with the housing officer or housing committee. He may even have arranged a swop. But whether or not he is able to move depends, in the long term, on the bureaucrat. That means that many families are growing up in council estates and are fixed there for the rest of their lives.

It is not only the question of tenure that makes them so very reluctant to move: very often it is that they might lose the subsidy. If they move into a privately rented house, the subsidy is lost. We must therefore look again at the way we subsidise houses instead of people.

I want to see a more mobile society, and we should inquire whether local authorities in themselves are the right bodies to run the housing estates. After all, they have many other things to do. We may in the future in the bigger estates have to go into some form of co-operative venture—it is being tried in some parts of the country, and I hope that it succeeds—where the tenants will have some say in their housing affairs.

Mr. Simon Mahon

I go a long way with the hon. Member. People in council houses suffer from the intransigence of committees, but does he not feel that the same intransigence occurs in a vast amount of privately-owned houses? Indeed, most private landlords will not allow any sort of movement at all.

Mr. Clegg

The hon. Gentleman has misunderstood my argument. The tenants of many private landlords have much greater rights against their landlords, either through the rent Acts or the leases.

If we can get more movement of council tenants, or have council tenants taking some part in the running of the housing estates, we restore an element of choice. If a man is buying a house as an owner-occupier, certain choices are available. They are simple choices, but simple choices are very important to the housewife. She may want a certain coloured bathroom suite, or a through room instead of divided rooms, or cupboards here and not there. Private tenants, too, can get those things, but it is rare indeed to hear of council tenants being allowed that privilege. What I want is to bring new life and feeling into this one-third of our housing. We must therefore concentrate not only on numbers or on the quality of the woodwork or the brickwork, but on the quality of life that can be offered to our people.

5.30 p.m.

Mr. George Rogers (Kensington, North)

It is not often that I take time in the Chamber from other hon. Members. I am usually upstairs trying to stop other hon. Members from speaking in Standing Committee. On the occasions when I speak in the Chamber I seem to talk about houses and, inevitably, about the housing in my constituency, which is a stain and a blot upon the country's record. No matter how many times the question is raised, we seem to be very little nearer a solution, because no authority has the imagination or the energy to tackle the problem seriously.

I know that it is boring for hon. Members when another Member talks about his constituency. I am restricted by the amount of time available before the vote is taken early this evening, so I will not trespass upon the good nature of hon. Members by giving details of the long report which has been prepared by the Notting Hill project under the direction of that energetic character, George Clark. It is because the problems in Notting Hill are so distinctive and because the area attracts dedicated people of this sort that we continually get these references to its housing problems, which may seem to give the area an undue prominence to other hon. Members who have housing problems in their constituencies.

Notting Hill's housing problem is a very old one. It goes back longer than any hon. Member, even my right hon. Friend the Member for Easington (Mr. Shinwell), can remember. I am the last person ever to blame a political party purely for the sake of doing so because it is not my political party, but I have to state that there is one reason, and one reason alone, for the state of housing in North Kensington today, and that is the complete inadequacy of the borough council in the area. No one else can be blamed, because there has never been anything but a Conservative council in control in North Kensington for the last 80 years. Not only has the Labour Party never breached the solid ranks of mindless voters in South Kensington. As Lord Spens said to me with a chuckle when he was a Member, someone once said that no Tory candidate, however inept, could lose South Kensington. The fact is that the people of South Kensington are either completely ignorant of the conditions of life in the rest of the borough or completely indifferent to the way their fellows in the rest of the borough have to live.

Mr. Geoffrey Johnson Smith (East Grinstead)

rose— —

Mr. Rogers

I expect the hon. Gentleman to rise to the defence of the council in South Kensington, but by the time I have completed my argument he, too, will realise that his party is responsible.

Mr. Johnson Smith

If the hon. Gentleman wishes to approach the matter objectively, will he not agree that it is as unfair to attribute some of the worst slum conditions in parts of England to Labour-controlled councils as I think it is unfair to attribute the bad housing conditions in North Kensington to the Kensington Borough Council? There are big social conditions responsible for these things which go well beyond the powers of a borough council.

Mr. Rogers

I am not at the moment concerned with any other part of Britain than my own constituency. I am concerned with Notting Hill, the area which is specially dealt with in the recent report, and with no other part of the country.

The first speech that I made as a young propagandist was in Notting Hill about its housing conditions. That was over 40 years ago. As I am nearing my swansong in the House, if this is not my swansong, it looks as if my last speech will be about housing in Notting Hill.

If we forget the period before the 1914–18 war when the social conscience of the country was not very alive to the bad housing of the workers, we must seriously consider what happened in the period after the first world war. We all know that up to the end of the first world war workers were still thought of as the lower orders who did not need bathrooms; if bathrooms were given to them, they would put coal in them or use them for such purposes. That attitude was very prevalent. I even came across that attitude when I was a young member of the borough council in Wembley after the first world war.

It was not until the Chamberlain and Wheatley Acts, indeed not until the Wheatley Act which the first Labour Government brought in, that any real effort was made to provide the kind of accommodation that the average working class family needed. It was not until the Labour Party began to dominate the councils in London that the hideous warrens of the poor in the East End areas like Shoreditch began to be cleared away. Just as unemployment was never raised in the House until Keir Hardie appeared, the housing needs of the people of Britain were not made a prominent factor in housing policy until the Labour Party gained strong representation. The reason this problem has not been solved in Kensington is that the Labour Party has never had sufficient representation to dominate the council's policy.

What happened between the two wars with the Tory borough council in control? Under the Acts that I have mentioned the council built two small cottage estates and one or two blocks of flats. It then decided to have an agreement with the Tory-controlled London County Council to leave housing to the Kensington authority. When the council got that agreement it left it all to housing associations and did nothing itself until after the second world war. The whole of the council's approach to the housing problem was lacking in imagination and energy.

After the second world war, this council was the last council to get under way. When the first report on housing results in London was prepared, the Kensington council was shown to have the worst result. A year or two ago when a report was produced on the housing records of London authorities, the Kensington council had the worst record.

When the London County Council—as it then was under Labour—tried to come into the area to build houses to help to make up for the deficiencies of the local authority, the local authority fought the Council; it objected to the building of council houses on Camden Hill because, it said, this would lower the tone of the area: the value of the houses would fall. Nothing of the sort happened. The value of the houses did not drop by one iota. In fact, the value rose. The people who lived in those council flats were just as well-behaved as any others.

The Abbotsbury Road site became available. We wanted to build housing for the people on it, but permission was refused by the local authority and the land was sold to private developers, who erected the most expensive dwellings in the area at that time, as hon. Members who know Abbotsbury Road well will know. There has been all along this lack of understanding, this lack of energy, this lack of desire to solve the problem.

Now we have a new lot of members on the borough council. I do not think any of them were there when I first became active in Kensington politics. The leader of the council says that he is prepared to do all he can to solve this problem. I am prepared to give him a chance. But I must be a little reserved, because when my right hon. Friend who is now the Chief Whip was Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Housing and Local Government he offered the Kensington Council the maximum financial assistance to deal with this problem. My right hon. Friend tells me that the council declined on the ground that land was too dear. If this is an argument, the problem, clearly, will never be solved, because land in London will not get cheaper; it will get dearer. This was a wholly negative approach which seemed to show that the council had not moved in the attitude it had had for the last 50 or 60 years. I can quote instance after instance where opportunities to solve this problem have been given to the council and it has refused to exploit them to the maximum possibility.

In North Kensington, strange as it may seem, there are many pleasant places. There are many pleasant squares, some of the nicest in London. On the whole, with the present plans, the solution to the area's problem is not terribly difficult. The borough council has completed a scheme in Kensal New Town. The London County Council, which, I admit, was slow to get off the mark in North Kensington after the war, also had a scheme in progress in Kensal New Town. There are also the Lancaster West scheme on the eastern side of Ladbroke Grove and a G.L.C. scheme more or less completed in the Latimer Road area. That side of the Ladbroke Grove, the western side—which is the spine of the constituency—will not be too bad when the schemes have been completed.

That leaves that part of the borough covered by the Notting Hill project report, that is, the rest of the Golborne Ward and part of the Pembridge Ward down to Colville Square, Powis Square and so on, the kind of area where we had so much trouble.

With drive, an imaginative and large-scale scheme could get rid of the problem in another ten to 15 years, if the Govern- ment and the council really made up their minds to take Notting Hill off the housing problem map once and for all. I hope that in his conference with the G.L.C. and the borough council my right Friend will see to it that they mean what they say and present him with early plans to solve the problem. If he is not satisfied that this time they will tackle it seriously, I hope he will consider taking drastic action to take the responsibility for housing out of the hands of a borough council which has never shown itself capable of dealing with it.

I have some sympathy with the hon. Member for North Fylde (Mr. Clegg), who spoke about the possibility that the local authorities may not be the best bodies to deal with housing. He has something when he talks about a more democratic approach to the administration of housing, the part to be played by the tenants, and so on. Some villages being built by a housing society in Wales are examples of this idea. They have a large measure of democracy in their administration. We have some very good housing societies in North Kensington. One established since the race riots is doing very well, but we have nothing on a large enough scale. There is the Peabody Trust, which does good work, but it has to raise its own finance. If, in consort with the local authority, the Minister could give the housing societies more financial help and encourage them to think on a bigger scale, they, in parallel with the local authority, might precipitate an end to the housing crisis in Notting Hill.

All who come to North Kensington, especially people who are asked to canvass there at election times, are appalled by the sordidness and misery of these streets. It is time that this stain on the housing of the nation was removed once and for all. If the problem had not existed we should have had no racial troubles, because there would have been controlled housing. Had there been a proper solution years ago when it should have been found, there would have been no Rachman and his kind, because there would have been nothing for them to exploit or, at least, not on anything like the same scale.

Therefore, I ask my right hon. Friend to bend his energies and his will to securing a solution to the problem. All of us in Kensington will be deeply grateful if he can help.

5.44 p.m.

Mr. James Allason (Hemel Hempstead)

I must resist the temptation to speak about the constituency housing points raised by the hon. Member for Kensington, North (Mr. George Rogers), because, as the Minister pointed out, we have an Adjournment debate on the subject this evening. But I ask the House to take with a pinch of salt some of his statements about his constituency and the Kensington Borough Council. For example, he claimed that the old L.C.C. wanted to build in the borough and was prevented from doing so by the borough council. In fact, the borough council tried for, I think, 10 years to get the L.C.C. to consent to its development of Kensal New Town. While the local authority was keen to get on with the job, it was held up over and over again by the Labour-controlled L.C.C.

Mr. Richard

I trust that at the same time the hon. Gentleman will remember a site called Abbotsbury Road in the borough. I was once the Labour candidate for Kensington, South, and I lived in it at about the time when a Labour London County Council wanted to house 1,000 people on that site. Ministers of the hon. Gentleman's Government refused to give planning permission on three successive occasions, as a result of which one can buy a lovely house in Abbotsbury Road today, but it costs £19,000.

Mr. Allason

The site has gone for housing at the density the Minister at the time thought desirable. We should leave that matter there.

It was the Kensington Borough Council which initiated all the discussions leading up to the 1964 Housing Act, which dealt with overcrowding, difficult conditions and the need for management orders in areas like North Kensington.

I am glad that the debate today has already achieved something in that the Minister has made a welcome but belated announcement of the change in the mortgage option scheme. He has also told us of a further change that he intends as an amendment to the Leasehold Reform Act. I hope that it follows the lines of new Clause 17 which I moved in Committee on the Housing Bill, when the Minister undertook that he would bring in a Clause on the lines I suggested.

The main question tonight is on housing targets, The Government told us of a clearcut target from which they said they would not be deflected, but the Minister said today, "We will build as many houses as our economic situation permits." That is a sad fall indeed. There is an extraordinary paragraph in the Report of the Ministry of Housing and Local Government for 1967–68 in which it says: These changes"— in the housing target— stemmed from a new assessment of the size and nature of the housing need that had to be met. The rate of new household formation was expected to be lower over the next few years than previously estimated, whilst fresh information about the numbers of slums and the condition of other houses had been obtained in the survey carried out in 1967. That is apparently a sort of cover-up for the Prime Minister. The Government are now making a virtue out of their utter failure to meet their election promises. They are now saying, "It is all right; we do not need to build 500,000 a year. The number we are building is adequate. If we go on at the present rate, by 1973 we shall have a sufficiency of housing."

I do not accept that. The need is far greater than 400,000 houses a year. The report from North Kensington will show that housing problems still cause a great deal of misery.

Will the number of new houses a year even be as great as 400,000? Under the Housing Subsidies Act, the Treasury must underwrite all interest charges above 4 per cent. for the building of council houses, and it must be becoming very restive at having to meet the high interest rate now covered. It would be interesting to know what the Letter of Intent has to say about this. I fear that the Letter will involve a substantial reduction in the target of council housing because of the high expense involved by the very nature of the Housing Subsidies Act. Therefore, I do not see a great future for council house building.

Let us consider what is wrong with the private sector. There are three things—the lack of sites, high interest rates and high prices. My hon. Friend the Member for Poole (Mr. Murton) has suggested that more sites should be brought forward. It is a matter of planning. There is always the great fear that we shall run out of sites, but there are 29 million acres in the country that are not built on. I do not suggest that they should all be built on, but 1 per cent. of that total represents six years' housing needs at 10 houses to the acre, so it is reasonable to bring forward land for housing in an orderly manner and so ensure that at least the sites are there, which will bring down the price.

The combination of high interest rates and high prices, forced up by such things as selective employment tax, makes it impossible for the average worker to buy his home. He is the man who the Prime Minister said would be able to buy a home, but he cannot do it. I had a letter today from a young married couple in my constituency with earnings of £17 a week. They cannot go on the housing list because they have not the qualifications. What are they to do? Where are they to live? They cannot afford to buy a house on a mortgage, and they are living in a tied house. We must change the whole housing situation so that people can afford to buy houses and set themselves up in their own homes.

In 1966 the Government announced that they desired to see 50 per cent. home ownership in new towns. I was very surprised that the Minister forgot to mention this in his Amendment to our Motion. He is always boasting about the new towns. Perhaps he thought the figures might be somewhat embarrassing. I want to tell the House what houses are available for purchase in new towns from the new town authorities. The figures show a ludicrous situation. I am talking about the second-generation new town, which is adequately developed. It is high time something was done to develop home ownership in new towns. I am happy to start with Basildon, where there are 16,000 rented houses, and the situation is under consideration. That is fair enough. At Bracknell there are 7,000 houses, and all are available for home ownership if the tenants wish. But the situation in the other new towns is very different. The figures are: Crawley—11,000 rented houses, 850 available for sale; Harlow—19,000, 125; Hemel Hempstead—11,000, 265; Stevenage—14,000, 1,910; Welwyn and Hatfield—10,000, 284. It is all very well for the Government to say that it is their policy to encourage home owner- ship and that they want to see 50 per cent., but they do not allow 50 per cent.

The only way to do this is to give instructions ensuring that every tenant is offered the chance of home ownership. Many will not want it, but there are many who passionately want to own their own homes but are being prevented from doing so by the Government. No good will be served by talking about a magnificent policy unless it is put into practice. The experts say that it cannot be done. If it can be done in Bracknell, why not elsewhere? Housing is the most important social service. When housing conditions are unsatisfactory there is the greatest human misery.

In Britain today there are many families with thoroughly unsatisfactory accommodation. The Government are now pretending that their present house-building programme is more than adequate. I do not accept that. The Minister has failed the nation and he should resign. Let him take the rest of the Cabinet with him.

6.0 p.m.

Mr. David Winnick (Croydon, South)

I do not believe that anyone is likely to take too seriously a Motion of censure on the Government's housing record tabled by a party responsible for the 1957 Rent Act. In my view, and in the view of my right hon. Friends too, that Act caused so much misery and hardship that the Opposition should be thoroughly ashamed of themselves. When we introduced the Rent Act in 1965 the Opposition did not vote against the Second Reading because of public feeling and pressure.

I would like some clarification about the Conservative attitude towards rent control. There was a letter in the Evening Standard, written by the Chairman of the G.L.C. Housing Committee—a leading Conservative in Greater London—and he urges the removal of rent control. Is this official Tory policy? Will a future Tory Government—if one should come about—before telling the electorate beforehand, remove security of tenure, as they did after the 1955 Election?

If we look at the whole problem of the housing shortage, the difficulties of people trying to find adequate accommodation with limited means, it is essential to mention one or two things.

The hon. Member for Hemel Hempstead (Mr. Allason) mentioned his own constituency and new town. I want to see many more new towns, because we shall not solve the housing problem in areas such as London without many more new towns. The Conservative Party's record on new towns, when in power, was very far from being a credit. It seemed to lack any urge to build any such towns, and I do not think that anyone is likely to challenge that remark.

If we are to try to relieve pressure on London, and get away from party propaganda and all the rest of it, there must be a more even distribution of industry throughout the country. As long as people continue to come into places like London and the big cities in the Midlands, so long will the situation continue. What is required is a more even distribution of industry. The Government's regional policy, carried out with proper safeguards—and I speak as a Greater London member—is the proper one and should be pursued. We all know that there are areas where there is no difficulty about buying or renting accommodation; the only snag is that a person cannot get a job. When I talk about the even distribution of industry, I believe that housing must be linked to trading matters, industry and many other factors. Housing cannot be considered in isolation.

It is inevitable in such a debate that figures will be quoted from both sides—we will justify what we have done since we came into office, and the Conservatives will try to prove that we have done very badly indeed. It is not just a question of figures, of reaching certain housing targets. Naturally, I want to see many more houses built and to see us reach our target of 500,000 houses a year. We hope that this will be possible once the economic climate improves. But this is not just figures. Consider a family unable to get a council flat who cannot afford a mortgage. It is no good telling such a family they can get a luxury-priced house or a flat being built at Brighton or Worthing. I am concerned with making sure that we build the type of accommodation required by those most greatly in need. The policy of building more council accommodation is absolutely right. I welcome the subsidy arrangements, which make it easier, financially, for local authorities to build.

Some Conservative M.P.s are very angry about the intervention of the Minister over the question of council house rents. I believe that his intervention was absolutely justified. Just before I came to the House my own local authority, Conservative-controlled, introduced rent increases some of which were well over £1 a week—in one go. These sort of increases cannot be justified. I know that the G.L.C. increases were less but I still do not believe that they were justified.

I would like to ask my right hon. Friend to bear one particular point in mind, to do with local authorities and council building. I am very worried, like a number of my right hon. Friends, about a few Tory-controlled councils which are embarking on a policy of selling land, which has been bought for housing, to private developers. My own local authority is considering it. It has not gone much further. I am told that the London Borough of Hammersmith has tried to sell a very important slice of land to private developers, and I am glad that the Minister has refused permission.

The situation, I believe, is the same in Slough and Camden. For local authorities to sell land in areas where there is an acute housing shortage is a crime against the homeless. Private developers will build accommodation which people on the waiting list could never afford to buy or rent. I hope that the Minister will intervene wherever necessary. He intervened and tried to stop the sale of council houses, and he received the full support of this side of the house. If local authorities, Conservative-controlled, continue with the policy of trying to sell land to private developers then the Minister should intervene on every possible occasion.

My hon. Friend the Member for Kensington, North (Mr. George Rogers) raised the question of Notting Hill. This is a national matter. Let me explain briefly how I became involved. About two years ago, following a Private Notice Question about the Davis Investment Group, I was asked by an I.T.N. film unit to visit some of the houses and the families in Notting Hill, North Kensington. I had known before some poorly-kept and managed multi-occupied premises, but I must tell the house that when I went along and saw for myself the squalid and miserable conditions in which people were living in Notting Hill, in houses which had been owned by the Davis Investment Group, I was deeply depressed. I immediately wrote to the Minister and told my hon. Friend the Member for Kensington, North.

What has been the position in North Kensington in the post-war years? A number of property companies have bought up houses, not because of any concern about housing as such, or private tenants. All that they have been concerned with is getting the maximum profit in the shortest time. The people who have controlled such companies, who have bought and sold properties in the Notting Hill area, are like black marketeers. They play on the difficulties and problems and the miseries of the homeless.

I spoke to some of the tenants. I asked them if they had applied for a rent reduction. Some had, and, obviously due to the efforts of George Clark and a number of other people in Notting Hill, many private tenants have had reductions in rents. It is remarkable that Conservative spokesmen say that the problem in Notting Hill is due to the Rent Act, to rent control. They say that if rent control was removed, we should not have such a problem. Without rent control the problem would be even worse, because tenants would have no protection or security.

That was the position between 1957 and 1964. Now tenants in Notting Hill have some protection. They cannot be evicted. Where accommodation is unfurnished, the tenant can apply for a reduction in rent. Is there not a case in Notting Hill and other similar areas to extend the Rent Act to cover security of tenure for furnished tenancies? A number of landlords put bits of furniture into hovel-like conditions and such accommodation is outside the Rent Act for the purposes of security of tenure. I hope that my right hon. Friend will review the position, and recognise that there is a special problem in certain multi-occupied areas, and extend the Act along the lines I have urged.

A word now about the local authority in the area. I have spoken about shady, Rachmanite property companies—these evil men who bought and sold properties for the last 10 or 15 years in North Kensington. As my hon. Friend the Member for Kensington, North has said, responsibility rests, to a great extent, with the local authority, the Conservative-controlled council, which in my opinion has shown a callous, brutal disregard for these people in North Kensington and particularly in Notting Hill. My hon. Friend quoted the Leader of the Conservative council as saying that the council will consider reviewing its policies. If the council continues in its old way, if there is no change of policy, then the housing responsibility of the borough council should be taken over by the Ministry.

No one can be complacent about the housing position and problems in Greater London. We know that some people still find it impossible to solve their housing problems, they cannot get a council flat or a mortgage.

No Labour M.P. can ever be complacent about what is happening in Greater London. But bearing in mind the difficulties, our housing record as a Government is a good one. We have carried out much that we promised—the Rent Act, leasehold reform, mortgage relief—and I am particularly pleased by the announcement made by my right hon. Friend about the mortgage option scheme. There is much more to do, and my hon. Friends will be urging the Minister to do more on housing. I do not believe that the Conservatives have any right to table such a Motion of censure, and I am in no doubt that it will be decisively rejected.

6.10 p.m.

Mr. A. P. Costain (Folkestone and Hythe)

I have given my Front Bench an undertaking to sit down in 10 minutes, which somewhat restricts my remarks. The hon. Member for Croydon, South (Mr. Winnick) made a typical Socialist speech on housing. There was not a word in his speech, and very little in the Minister's, about how to increase house production. It was a typical Socialist approach—"do not produce more, control more". I should like an opportunity to have a debate with the hon. Gentleman about the Rent Act. I could develop the true argument and show him the statistics and facts which demonstrate that where freedom of rent applies houses are in surplus, and where it does not there is no surplus. Those are the facts of life.

I think tonight of the people who are still wanting houses, and I deplore the way in which the Minister has turned this into a political debate, not a debate about production. [Laughter.] The Front Bench opposite may laugh, but what has the Minister said which will help to reduce the price of houses or increase the production of houses?

The Secretary of State for Wales (Mr. George Thomas)

Is the hon. Gentleman complaining that this is a political debate? I understood that it was on a Motion of censure.

Mr. Costain

The right hon. Gentleman is sufficiently aware of Parliamentary procedure for me not to have to explain that to him. What I expect from him, what the country expects, and what the people waiting for houses expect, is a lead to show that the Government mean to provide more homes. People are sick and tired of promises by the political parties. They are disgusted with the party opposite which makes promises which it cannot keep.

During the 1964 election campaign—I just make this short political point—when the famous theme song of the Socialists, as they promised 500,000 houses a year, was, "Anything you can do we can do better", some people took them seriously. Some people voted for them. The brick makers took them seriously. There are 944 million bricks available today, enough to build more than the 500,000 houses. As I say, the brick makers took the Socialists seriously, and now we have nearly two years' stock of bricks available if not another brick were made. That is little consolation.

What the House ought to be doing, what the local authorities ought to be doing, and what the nation ought to be doing, is deciding how we can build houses more quickly and more cheaply. How can we meet the housing demand? A great deal is made of the argument that, if someone buys a house, he stops someone else having a council house. Precisely the opposite is true. Fewer people today can afford to buy houses of their own because of the rising prices; house prices have risen by 7 per cent. a year since this Government came into power as a result of actions by the Government themselves. But those who can afford to buy will obtain a house anyway, and the very fact of their buying a house means that they do not live somewhere else and a house lower down the scale is available. In the same way, if someone buys a new motor car, there is a second-hand motor car on the market, and the log jam is released. People can understand that. But, low and behold, with the inbred envy which is so typical of them, Socialists do not accept the truth of it in housing.

The Government, of whatever party, must determine their function in housing. What can the Government do to help to house the people? They have control of planning. My hon. Friend the Member for Poole (Mr. Murton) made a good point in emphasising that. We were told that the Land Commission would make more land available for house building, but this week we had the pathetic answer that in two years it has released only 18.3 acres of land. There are 1,404 civil servants working in the Land Commission, this new body which was supposed to do wonders, but anyone who is good at mental arithmetic can see that that means only 20 square yards per man per annum made available for housing—a little bigger than a grave. Can one imagine an estate agent setting up in business with the object of selling 20 square yards of land a year? He would be bankrupt in a week.

The Government must help by making land available. But they will not make land available through bodies such as the Land Commission which have no power over planning. The Government themselves are the ones who, through the local authorities, can control the supply of land. Goodness gracious—when will we learn that the only way to reduce the price of anything is to increase the supply?

My hon. Friend the Member for Poole asked why we do not release land ahead. Why not? The statisticians tell us that the population of this country will be 64 million by the end of the century. Cannot we be realistic and realise that they will want land for houses? Cannot we be realistic and say, "Let us take a chance and release a little more land then necessary at this time"? It would reduce the price of land more quickly than anything else, and that in itself would reduce the price of housing. If we reduce the price of houses, we at once increase the number of people who can buy. Wicked though the hon. Member for Croydon, South may think it, it is not a sin to own a house. It is a good investment in the country.

Cannot this Government understand how they have added £120 million a year to construction costs through their selective employment tax?

Mr. Winnick


Mr. Costain

I cannot give way. I have only three minutes left. The S.E.T. is a wicked form of tax. It means calling upon posterity to pay for what is spent now as income. The Government must realise that money which is taken from the construction industry, from capital assets, goes on to current account and it is spent as though it were income, and another part of the loans over 60 years must carry what is necessary to pay the S.E.T. This is just another example of what the Government are doing in adding to the cost to be met by posterity.

Those are major matters over which the Government have control. How did the Conservative Party get the housing programme going under Mr. Macmillan?

Mr. Ted Leadbitter (The Hartlepools)


Mr. Costain

I shall tell the hon. Gentleman. They got it going by setting the builder free. For goodness' sake, let the people who understand building get on with the building.

Mr. Leadbitter


Mr. Costain

The hon. Gentleman is too excited. All right. I shall give way.

Mr. Leadbitter

The hon. Gentleman is misrepresenting the facts. We have built 12½ per cent. more houses for private owner-occupation in the past four years than the Tories did, and we have built 40 per cent. more for public renting than the Tories did.

Mr. Costain

The hon. Gentleman should grow up. He ought to realise that it takes 18 months from the planning stage to build a house. The only success which the Labour Government had came at the beginning because they took advantage of the flywheel momentum of housing starts under the previous Conservative Government. [HON. MEMBERS: "No."] If hon. Members do not accept that, I remind them that there were 423,000 houses in course of construction when they took over.

Mr. Leadbitter


Mr. Costain

No; the hon. Gentleman has had his go. There were 423,000 houses in course of construction at that time, but ever since then they have not completed anything like that in any year That is not success. It is failure.

Mr. Leadbitter


Mr. Costain

No. I have given a pledge that I shall sit down in a minute. I should love to have a debate with the hon. Gentleman on another occasion.

Mr. Leadbitter


Mr. Speaker

Order. If the hon. Gentleman who has the Floor does not give way, the hon. Member for The Hartlepools (Mr. Leadbitter) must sit down.

Mr. Costain

There is not much we can do politically in this Chamber to help housing. Someone once said to me that it was a great pity that everything to do with housing seemed to be politics. My reply was that housing would be part of politics just as love was part of marriage. But we can help the builders by giving them the opportunity to get on with building. I know jolly well that, when we get into power, my right hon. and hon. Friends will do just that.

6.20 p.m.

Mr. Graham Page (Crosby)

I sincerely regret that, by reason of the way in which we order our business, I have had to endeavour to catch your eye, Mr. Speaker, at this stage and interrupt what is a most interesting and becoming an exciting debate.

The Opposition Motion is direct and to the point. It accuses the Government of failure to fulfil their housing programme and it deplores the impact of Government policies on the costs of mortgages and on the cost of house building. Being direct, the Motion attacks on a comparatively narrow front, which I should have thought it would have been easy to defend—if the Government had any defence. By the Amendment the Government have sought to widen that front in the hope, I assume, of weakening the Opposition's attack by stretching their lines, but in fact it is the Government's lines of defence which are crumbling in these tactics and the Amendment is a retreat from the real issue and certainly a retreat from the truth.

I hope that the Government will learn from this debate in future that to set up a schedule of shibboleths is not a good defence. As hon. Members will know, it was the shibboleths of the fleeing Ephraimites which detected them as the fleeing ones.

We deplore the cost of mortgages, a cost which has been pushed up and up over the years that the Government have been in office—1965, after four months of Labour Government, up ¾ per cent.; 1966, after another 14 months of Labour Government, up another ⅜ per cent.; 1968, after another 24 months of Labour Government, up another ½ per cent.; 1969, after another 11 months of Labour Government, up ⅞ per cent.

Now it stands at 8½ per cent., the figure recommended by the Building Societies Association, but many societies—and here I had better say that I speak as the director of one—have to charge 8⅞ per cent. and not 8½ per cent., and if someone happens to let off a small flatlet in his house, he will be charged 9⅞ percent. This week the societies have reached the fantastic position that, because of the Government's general policies, it is so necessary for local authorities to borrow that they are paying 9 per cent. on seven-day notice borrowing. It, therefore, pays the building societies better to lend their money to local authorities than to home buyers. It is cynical perhaps to say that, but that is the sort of fantastic situation in which we are placed as a result of the general policies the Government.

On what further flights of financial fancy will the Government take off? Unfortunately, the apparent fantasies are real. The high financial terms of the I.M.F. and devaluation and the P.I.B. and letters of intent and the rest are of great academic interest when we hear them on T.V., but they cannot be isolated as matters merely of academic interest. They hit, directly, at that family, the husband and wife and two or three children in a top floor room eating, sleeping and living in one room, the cooker on the landing and the lavatory two floors down, the family who may be saving or trying to save to buy its own home and which finds that, like Tantalus, it is always having it pushed out of its reach by the Government. Perhaps I should have likened the Government to Tantalus and not the prospective home-owner, for it will be remembered that Tantalus was standing up to his chin in water, and that is about where the Government have now got themselves.

Owning a home of its own by a family such as I have described, and we all know many such families in our constituencies, has been made unattainable not only by the increase in interest rates, but by the relentless rise in house prices and therefore in the repayment instalments and in the amount of deposit which a prospective purchaser has to find. In the Motion we deplore the cost of house building, and many actions of the Government have added to that cost—S.E.T., the increase in National Insurance contributions, corporation tax, petrol tax and the rest.

But there is an additional factor which would remain even if all these others were removed. Even if one were to discover a new and speedy and more economic method of building, house prices would still keep up for the very reason given by my hon. Friend the Member for Folkestone and Hythe (Mr. Costain)—the big demand and the small supply. While that remains, house prices, even if one got the actual cost of building down, would probably remain up.

The Government have done nothing effective to ensure a steady rate of increase in that supply. They have done nothing to ensure the release of adequate land for building houses. They have only created the Land Commission which in two years has sold only 2.3 acres for house building.

Yet in the Amendment the Government ask us to congratulate them on their reform in town and country planning. If that means not the overall policy of town and country planning, about which I have been complaining in saying that not sufficient land was being made free for house building, but with procedure it is a false claim. The Town and Country Planning Act, 1968, is based entirely upon a report of the Planning Advisory Group, "The future of development plans" set up by my right hon. Friend the Member for Leeds, North-East (Sir K. Joseph) and my right hon. Friend the Member for Argyll (Mr. Noble) when they were respectively Minister of Housing and Local Government and Secretary of State for Scotland. It is a false claim that these reforms are solely the present Government's.

The Minister based much of his argument on a comparison between the last four years of the last Conservative Government and the first four years of the Labour Government. In comparing these two sets of years, 1961–64 as against 1964–68, he showed an increase of 312,000 houses, an increase of 24 per cent.

Since the last war, it has been possible to choose many combinations of years in that way to shown increases in the rate of building. I will take as an example a similar comparison—the last four years of the previous Labour Government and the first four years of the Conservative Government which followed, 1948–51 compared with 1952–55. In the last four years of the Labour Governemt there were built 818,245 houses, while in the first four years of the Conservative Government which followed the figure was 1,223,901 houses, an increase of 405,656, an increase not of 24 per cent., but of 50 per cent. over the efforts of the previous Labour Government.

But it is not the historical figures which concern us now. It is the current figures which are important, and that surely is why we are having this debate. The Minister said that this was the third housing debate in three months. It is, and it is because of the current figures that we are anxious again to bring before the House the serious situation into which the country is drifting under the present Government. In the first quarter of 1969, there were 70,800 starts which was 19,700 down on the same period of 1968; completions at 83,400 were 13,200 down; local authority approvals at 20,700, were 19,900 down, 50 per cent. down.

These are very serious figures, and the Minister has failed to give any credible reassurance about the future. We need a better explanation on this immediate problem than the explanation which the Minister chose to give. It is clear from those figures that the supply of houses is to be severely cut this year. It has always been difficult to ascertain how many houses a year the Government wish to see built. In the National Plan of 1965 the figure was 500,000 by 1970. It was the same figure in the Prime Minister's famous pledge, "not lightly given", of 1966. In 1968, the Minister, in answer to a Question, gave, if one works it out, a target of 440,000 by 1970. As my hon. Friend the Member for Worcester (Mr. Peter Walker) pointed out, the Prime Minister was, at the same time, saying that it would be 483,500, again if one works out the figures based on the replies.

But there is a clear Government target in the Amendment to which the hon. Member for Bootle (Mr. Simon Mahon) referred in an intervention. He called attention to the magnificent figure of 2 million houses which will be built by the end of 1969 by the Labour Party since it came to power. I do not want to weary the House with too many figures, but these should go on record. I want to discover what that 2 million means. The Government came into office in October, 1964. Taking the last quarter of 1964, the figure was 107,012; in 1965 it was 382,297; in 1966 it was 385,509; in 1967 it was 404,356; and in 1968 it was 413,715. Those figures add up to 1,692,889 to the end of last year which, when taken away from the figure of 2 million which is to be reached by the end of this year, means that the Government's target for this year is 307,111. Is that all? Why make this play with the figure of 2 million houses built at the end of 1969?

Mr. Leadbitter

The answer to the hon. Gentleman's question is this. In March this year there were 442,000 houses under construction. The hon. Gentleman's arithmetic is wrong as well as his logic.

Mr. Page

That is almost the same as when the Labour Party took office, and the Government have never succeeded in building that number of houses a year.

I should like to know the target. In the Amendment we are asked to congratulate the Government on the fact that they will have completed 2 million houses by the end of 1969. I do not propose to congratulate the Government on building only 307,000 houses this year. Why try to get publicity for the figure of 2 million houses built by the end of 1969? Perhaps that is the only true statement in the Amendment.

Mr. Simon Mahon

There is another true statement in the Amendment. The hon. Gentleman complains about what the Labour Party promised to do and what it has not done. Another true statement in the Amendment refers to the removal of the grossly unfair bases for compensation payable to owner-occupiers in clearance areas whom previous Conservative administrations failed to help. What has the hon. Gentleman to say about that?

Mr. Page

I am glad that the hon. Gentleman has raised that point. He has quoted one of the biggest lies in the Amendment. Let me repeat it— the removal of the grossly unfair bases for compensation payable to owner-occupiers in clearance areas whom previous Conservative administrators failed to help. In 1935 the Conservative Government created the well maintained payment. When the Labour Party was in office between 1945 and 1951 it did nothing at all about the compensation law. In 1955, the Conservative Government started the slum clearance drive and introduced market value compensation for those who had bought between 1939 and 1955. In May, 1965, when the Government had the opportunity to do something about this matter on a Private Member's Bill introduced by my hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham, Selly Oak (Mr. Gurden) on a Friday, the Joint Parliamentary Secretary, although he said that he had been up all the night before and had not had any breakfast, made a speech for 33 minutes. He sat down at four minutes to four o'clock in order to allow his hon. Friend the Member for Hackney, Central (Mr. Herbert Butler) to talk the Bill out. Do you know what he said on that Bill, Mr. Speaker? He stated: It might be said that the answer is to give everyone market value, but we believe that that would be wrong". Now the Government congratulate themselves, five years later, because they think that it would be right. Talking about the site value rule, the hon. Gentleman said: It is fundamental to an effective slum clearance programme and has been recognised to be so by successive Governments ever since it was introduced in 1919. Its basis is obviously correct. If the Government rely on the fact that they have suddenly been converted in the last year to giving part market value to some of those who are suffering, I am right in saying that the statements in the Amendment are untrue.

Mr. Greenwood

It may have taken my hon. Friend 33 minutes to explain the position, but it took the Conservative Party 30 years between the 1935 Act and a Private Member's Bill in 1965.

Mr. Page

I seem to remember that the Labour Party was in office between 1945 and 1951 when it could have done something about it. In 1935 and in 1955 we did something about it, and we pressed the Government to do something about it when they had the opportunity in renewing the slum clearance Act in 1965.

I have spent too long perhaps on one point, but I was asked to deal with it and I have shown what untruths there are in the Amendment. It speaks about generous improvement grants. They are simply a matter of catching up with inflation and the increase in building costs. It speaks about speeding up slum clearance. Eighty per cent. of the present slum clearance schemes were approved by the Conservative Government. We are asked to congratulate the Government on their "help towards home ownership". What help? House prices and mortgage interest rates have increased so that the repayments put home ownership out of the reach of the average manual worker. How dare the Government talk about "help towards home ownership".

The Minister talked about a relief of £16 10s. per annum on the rates for 840,000 people. That is about the increase in rates which has occurred while the Labour Government has been in office. We are asked to congratulate the Government on housing associations. They have cut the potential of the Housing Corporation by half. The opening sentence of the 32nd annual report of the National Federation of Housing Societies states: There are many within the voluntary housing movement who look back at the year under review as one of the most frustrating they have experienced. We are asked to congratulate the Government on that.

The reckless disregard for the truth in the matters listed in the Amendment is a scraping of the barrel to find an excuse for the failure of the Government's housing programme. The public will see through it and show their contempt, at the next general election, for the Government's inefficiency in ensuring that the people have decent homes.

6.40 p.m.

The Secretary of State for Wales (Mr. George Thomas)

We all enjoyed the speech of the hon. Member for Crosby (Mr. Graham Page), who brought some life to the debate. When it began I almost failed to recognise the hon. Member for Worcester (Mr. Peter Walker); he was so subdued. It has been impossible to realise that this was supposed to be a great attack by hon. Members opposite upon this side of the House; indeed, at one stage I took pains to count the attendance of hon. Members opposite who felt so strongly on this issue, and I found that there were six—[Interruption.] I did not look behind me. I never pretend to greater qualities than I possess. I do not pretend that I have eyes in the back of my head—but I have eyes in front. The party opposite has not behaved as though this was a substantial Motion of censure—and I shall give some reasons why. I believe that hon. Members opposite have run out of speeches for their Supply Days.

Before I turn to the content of the debate I must point out that for all hon. Members, wherever they sit, the question of the type and quality of the houses in which our people live is of the utmost importance. I do not believe that anyone is complacent about the housing of our people. We make our party points—the House thrives on scoring party points; it keeps the place alive—but, at bottom, we all share a deep concern that the housing of our people shall be worthy of the country. The efforts made by respective Governments differ. A different emphasis is placed on different sectors of the problem, as I hope to prove. I do not believe that any formula can measure the social consequences of poor housing standards.

Before I turn to the statistics I hope I may be allowed to make one personal reference. I take statistics very seriously, but I hope the House will forgive me if I introduce one personal note, because I know that the House does not like them. Twenty years ago my elder sister was killed in a road accident. When the statistics for road fatalities were issued that year they showed that over 400 people had been killed on the roads, but in my mind there was only one—our Ada. When we talk in terms of statistics we must realise that for each family the only important question is the condition in which it is living. We are sometimes carried away by political arguments so that we forget how much the lives of our people are affected.

I shall soon start my twenty-fifth year in this House—at least, I hope so. I shall do so if my health holds out. I have been concerned in many a vote of censure. I have been re-reading the report of an interesting vote of censure in 1963, when we were on the other side of the House and the party opposite was on this side. The right hon. Member for Leeds, North-East (Sir K. Joseph) proudly told the House that 4½ million houses had been built in the United Kingdom since the war. In 18 years 4½ million houses had been built. We can now tell the House that in five years 2 million more have been built. When the party opposite went out of office its proud boast to the electorate was that 25 per cent. of our people were living in a post-war house. Today, the proportion is 37 per cent. This does not read like a failure.

I have been dealing with the hon. Member for Crosby for a long time. I know his technique. The weaker his argument, the louder his voice. If ever a man needed a thick skin the hon. Member did when he talked about rising prices. He asked us to consider the way in which the price of a house had risen in the five years during which this Government have been in power. He traded on the short memories of the public, but I shall remind them of the true facts. It so happens that this rising trend in prices began not in 1964 but a long time before that. Right hon. Gentlemen opposite gave it a good start, well before we came into power. [Interruption.] The hon. Member is making my speech for me, because the rate of increase has slowed down. I shall give the figures to the House.

From 1960 to 1964 the cost of new houses increased, on average, by 7.5 per cent. each year; from 1964 to 1968 the figure was 7 per cent. That is too high, but it is lower than the previous annual rate; it is beginning to move in the right direction. The cost of second-hand or older houses increased from 1960 to 1964, the last four years that the Conservatives had power in their hands, by 8.2 per cent. each year. From 1964 to 1968 the figure was 6.8 per cent.

We have had a lot of humbug tonight. [Interruption.] I had a job to stop laughing when the hon. Member for Crosby was talking. I know that the yardstick by which we measure achievement today is achievement yesterday; it is the only yardstick that the House ever uses. We cannot measure achievement by the mysterious future which Providence hides from our eyes; we can measure our housing achievement only by the yardstick of what is already there.

Mr. Peter Walker


Mr. Thomas

Promises? The hon. Member had better whisper that word. The party opposite used to talk about a property-owning democracy. Since this Government have been in office there has been an increase in the number of owner-occupiers. In our four years of office the number has increased by 100,000—a 13 per cent. increase in that four-year period.

The House knows that I hail from the Rhondda Valley, although I have had the honour of representing in this House for 24 years part of the city of Cardiff. The people of South Wales, like the people of Birmingham and London, have been persecuted by the leasehold system, that system which is the essence of capitalism and which meant that when people bought their home it still belonged to the ground landlord. It was a remarkable system, but it continued until we came into power. Two important decisions have been registered by the Lands Tribunal. Since those decisions were taken ground landlords throughout the country have been forcing up the price of freeholds.

We believe that the leaseholder should not be considered as a bidder in the open market. We believe that it is wrong that the leaseholder who owns the bricks and mortar should have to pay what the profession calls the marriage value when he seeks to purchase the freehold of his home. As my right hon. Friend the Minister of Housing has said, we are today tabling an Amendment to the Housing Bill as a result of which a million leaseholders will become property owners in the right sense of the word. We have done more in four years to create a property-owning democracy than the Tories did in all their years of office.

Mr. Graham Page

I do not think the right hon. Gentleman was on the Committee that dealt with the Leasehold Reform Bill, or he might recollect that we on this side said that unless the Government tidied up the Clause in question there might be an open interpretation of it, but all our proposals for improving the Bill were cast aside.

Mr. Thomas

The House will recall that I used the phrase "a thick skin and a poor memory". I have campaigned in the House and outside for too long not to remember the history of the party opposite on leasehold. During the passage of the Leasehold Reform Bill the party opposite told us that we were stealing, that it was confiscation; they were opposed, root and branch to the Leasehold Reform Bill. The hon. Gentleman knows that he was opposed to it, and I well remember the right hon. Member for Leeds, North-East saying that Western Ground Rents, about the worst ground landlords in Wales—

An Hon. Member

And still are.

Mr. Thomas

I do not know what they are now, but they certainly were the worst. However, the right hon. Gentleman said in the House that they were charging a fair price for their property.

We have given to owner-occupiers a liberty that they have been denied by the party of big interests opposite. The party opposite remains the party of big business and big interests, but I am talking about the owner-ocupier of modest means.

I am particularly proud that we took action about those who owned property in clearance areas. The reason why local authorities have been reluctant to embark on slum clearance has been the inadequacy of the compensation which they were entitled to give to those whose houses were unfit. Whether a house is well maintainted or whether it is declared unfit by the inspector, it is the house for that family, and we have laid down for the first time that an owner-occupier shall be entitled to the market value for his house. This removes a grievous social injustice which has lasted for far too long.

When I was on the other side of the House in 1959, people living in an area in my constituency in West Cardiff called Riverside were being pushed out of their houses, being paid £70 or £80 and having to move to the outskirts of the city. We know that when there is slum clearance people have to move to outside areas, but it is monstrous that the community should acquire land and not pay at least the market value for the property. That land is now at the mercy of a Conservative council in Cardiff—I am sorry that I spoke about the right hon. Gentleman when he was not here——

Sir Keith Joseph (Leeds, North-East)

I was here.

Mr. Thomas

At the end of the day we are dependent upon the local authorities. The land that was taken from those people who owned their own homes in Cardiff is now being sold by the Conservative corporation to private developers, and an enormous price will be obtained.

Mr. Graham Page

The right hon. Gentleman will surely recollect that it was his Government which removed from the Bill the Clause which would have given that profit to the owners when council plans were changed.

Mr. Thomas

I remember a good deal more. I remember that in that Measure there were precautions. It is true that this local authority has been able to exploit the Clause which allowed it, and the Tories are doing so.

Earlier in the debate figures were being bandied backwards and forwards. My right hon. Friend the Minister of Housing has given the House the record figures for housing. There is no need for anyone on this side of the House to apologise. Far from a vote of censure, we should be getting a vote of thanks.

We all know that local authorities throughout the country are largely in the control of the party opposite, and it is a serious thing if Conservative councils do not have proper housing targets. Last year in Cardiff the housing achievement dropped to roughly 460. Two years ago it was 1,100. But then it was a Labour council. Ever since the Conservatives came in, the policy has changed. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland has given me similar figures for Scotland—of tremendous achievement in the private sector and in the public sector. There are more homes for the people. In Scotland, England and Wales there is the same story of advance and success, and I hope that the House will reject the Motion.

Question put, That the Amendment be made:—

The House divided: Ayes 266, Noes 218.

Division No. 219.] AYES [7.0 p.m.
Albu, Austen Blackburn, F. Carmichael, Neil
Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.) Blenkinsop, Arthur Carter-Jones, Lewis
Anderson, Donald Boardman, H. (Leigh) Castle, Rt. Hn. Barbara
Archer, Peter Booth, Albert Conlan, Bernard
Ashley, Jack Boston, Terence Corbet, Mrs. Freda
Ashton, Joe (Bassetlaw) Bottomley, Rt. Hn. Arthur Craddock, George (Bradford, S.)
Atkins, Ronald (Preston, N.) Boyden, James Crawshaw, Richard
Atkinson, Norman (Tottenham) Bray, Dr. Jeremy Crosland, Rt. Hn. Anthony
Bacon, Rt. Hn. Alice Brooks, Edwin Crossman, Rt. Hn. Richard
Bagier, Gordon A. T. Broughton, Dr. A. D. D. Darling, Rt. Hn. George
Barnes, Michael Brown, Hugh D. (G'gow, Provan) Davidson, Arthur (Accrington)
Barnett, Joel Brown, Bob (N'c'tle-upon-Tyne, W.) Davies, Ednyfed Hudson (Conway)
Baxter, William Brown, R. W. (Shoreditch & F'bury) Davies, G. Elfed (Rhondda, E.)
Beaney, Alan Buchanan, Richard (G'gow, Sp'burn) Davies, Dr. Ernest (Stretford)
Bidwell, Sydney Butler, Herbert (Hackney, C.) Davies, Rt. Hn. Harold (Leek)
Binns, John Callaghan, Rt. Hn. James Davies, Ifor (Gower)
Bishop, E. S. Cant, R. B. Delargy, Hugh
Dell, Edmund Johnson, Carol (Lewisham, S.) Parkin, Ben (Paddington, N.)
Dempsey, James Jones, Dan (Burnley) Parkyn, Brian (Bedford)
Dewar, Donald Jones, Rt. Hn. Sir Elwyn (W. Ham, S.) Pavitt, Laurence
Diamond, Rt. Hn. John Jones, J. Idwal (Wrexham) Pearson, Arthur (Pontypridd)
Dickens, James Jones, T. Alec (Rhondda, West) Peart, Rt. Hn. Fred
Driberg, Tom Judd, Frank Perry, Ernest G. (Battersea, S.)
Dunn, James A. Kelley, Richard Perry, George H. (Nottingham, S.)
Dunnett, Jack Kenyon, Clifford Prentice, Rt. Hn. R. E.
Dunwoody, Dr. John (F'th & C'b'e) Kerr, Dr. David (W'worth, Central) Price, Christopher (Perry Barr)
Eadie, Alex Kerr, Russell (Feltham) Price, Thomas (Westhoughton)
Edwards, William (Merioneth) Lawson, George Price, William (Rugby)
Ellis, John Leadbitter, Ted Probert, Arthur
English, Michael Lee, Rt. Hn. Frederick (Newton) Pursey, Cmdr. Harry
Ennals, David Lee, Rt. Hn. Jennie (Cannock) Rankin, John
Ensor, David Lee, John (Reading) Rees, Merlyn
Evans, Albert (Islington, S. W.) Lestor, Miss Joan Richard, Ivor
Evans, Fred (Caerphilly) Lever, Harold (Cheetham) Roberts, Albert (Normanton)
Evans, Ioan L. (Birm'h'm, Yardley) Lever, L. M. (Ardwick) Roberts, Rt. Hn. Goronwy
Faulds, Andrew Lewis, Ron (Carlisle) Roberts, Gwilym (Bedfordshire, S.)
Fernyhough, E. Lipton, Marcus Robinson, Rt. Hn. Kenneth (St. P'c'as)
Finch, Harold Lomas, Kenneth Rodgers, William (Stockton)
Fletcher, R. Hn. Sir Eric (Islington, E.) Loughlin, Charles Roebuck, Roy
Fletcher, Raymond (Ilkeston) Luard, Evan Rogers, George (Kensington, N.)
Fletcher, Ted (Darlington) Lyon, Alexander W. (York) Ross, Rt. Hn. William
Foley, Maurice Lyons, Edward (Bradford, E.) Ryan, John
Foot, Rt. Hn. Sir Dingle (Ipswich) Mabon, Dr. J. Dickson Shaw, Arnold (Ilford, S.)
Foot, Michael (Ebbw Vale) McCann, John Sheldon, Robert
Ford, Ben MacColl, James Shinwell, Rt. Hn. E.
Forrester, John Macdonald, A. H. Shore, Rt. Hn. Peter (Stepney)
Fowler, Gerry McKay, Mrs. Margaret Short, Rt. Hn. Edward (N'c'tle-u-Tyne)
Fraser, John (Norwood) Mackenie, Gregor (Rutherglen) Silkin, Rt. Hn. John (Deptford)
Freeson, Reginald Mackie, John Silverman, Julius
Gardner, Tony Mackintosh, John P. Skeffington, Arthur
Garrett, W. E. McMillan, Tom (Glasgow, C.) Slater, Joseph
Ginsburg, David McNamara, J. Kevin Small, William
Gordon Walker, Rt. Hn. P. C. MacPherson, Malcolm Spriggs, Leslie
Gray, Dr. Hugh (Yarmouth) Mahon, Peter (Preston, S.) Steele, Thomas (Dunbartonshire, W.)
Greenwood, Rt. Hn. Anthony Mahon, Simon (Bootle) Stewart, Rt. Hn. Michael
Gregory, Arnold Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg) Strauss, Rt. Hn. G. R.
Griffiths, David (Rother Valley) Mallalieu, J. P. W. (Huddersfield, E.) Taverne, Dick
Griffiths, Eddie (Brightside) Mapp, Charles Thomas, Rt. Hn. George
Griffiths, Rt. Hn. James (Llanelly) Marquand, David Thomson, Rt. Hn. George
Griffiths, Will (Exchange) Marsh, Rt. Hn. Richard Thornton, Ernest
Gunter, Rt. Hn. R. J. Mason, Rt. Hn. Roy Tinn, James
Hamilton, James (Bothwell) Mayhew, Christopher Tomney, Frank
Hamilton, William (Fife, W.) Mellish, Rt. Hn. Robert Urwin, T. W.
Hamling, William Mikardo, Ian Varley, Eric G.
Hannan, William Millan, Bruce Wainwright, Edwin (Dearne Valley)
Harper, Joseph Miller, Dr. M. S. Walden, Brian (All Saints)
Harrison, Walter (Wakefield) Mitchell, R. C. (S'th'pton, Test) Walker, Harold (Doncaster)
Hart, Rt. Hn. Judith Morgan, Elystan (Cardiganshire) Wallace, George
Hazell, Bert Morris, Alfred (Wythenshawe) Watkins, David (Consett)
Healey, Rt. Hn. Denis Morris, Charles R. (Openshaw) Weitzman, David
Heffer, Eric S. Morris, John (Aberavon) Wellbeloved, James
Henig, Stanley
Herbison, Rt. Hn. Margaret Moyle, Roland Wells, William (Walsall, N.)
Hilton, W. S. Mulley, Rt. Hn. Frederick Whitaker, Ben
Hooley, Frank Murray, Albert White, Mrs. Eirene
Horner, John Neal, Harold Whitlock, William
Houghton, Rt. Hn. Douglas Newens, Stan Wilkins, W. A.
Howell, Denis (Small Heath) Norwood, Christopher Williams, Alan (Swansea, W.)
Hoy, James Oakes, Gordon Williams, W. T. (Warrington)
Huckfield, Leslie Ogden, Eric Willis, Rt. Hn. George
Hughes, Rt. Hn. Cledwyn (Anglesey) Oram, Albert E. Wilson, Rt. Hn. Harold (Huyton)
Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.) Orbach, Maurice Wilson, William (Coventry, S.)
Hughes, Roy (Newport) Orme, Stanley Winnick, David
Hunter, Adam Oswald, Thomas Woodburn, Rt. Hn. A.
Hynd, John Owen, Dr. David (Plymouth, S'tn) Woof, Robert
Irvine, Sir Arthur (Edge Hill) Padley, Walter Wyatt, Woodrow
Jackson, Peter M. (High Peak) Paget, R. T.
Janner, Sir Barnett Palmer, Arthur TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Jay, Rt. Hn. Douglas Pannell, Rt. Hn. Charles Mr. Charles Grey and
Jenkins, Hugh (Putney) Park, Trevor Mr. Neil McBride.
Jenkins, Rt. Hn. Roy (Stechford) Parker, John (Dagenham)
Alison, Michael (Barkston Ash) Baker, W. H. K. (Banff) Bessell, Peter
Allason, James (Hemel Hempstead) Balniel, Lord Biffen, John
Amery, Rt. Hn. Julian Batsford, Brian Biggs-Davison, John
Astor, John Beamish, Col. Sir Tufton Birch, Rt. Hn. Nigel
Atkins, Humphrey (M't'n & M'd'n) Bell, Ronald Black, Sir Cyril
Awdry, Daniel Bennett, Dr. Reginald (Gos & Fhm) Blaker, Peter
Baker, Kenneth (Acton) Berry, Hn. Anthony Boardman, Tom (Leicester, S. W.)
Body, Richard Hawkins, Paul Orr-Ewing, Sir Ian
Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hn. John Hay, John Osborn, John (Hallam)
Boyle, Rt. Hn. Sir Edward Heald, Rt. Hn. Sir Lionel Osborne, Sir Cyril (Louth)
Braine, Bernard Heath, Rt. Hn. Edward Page, Graham (Crosby)
Brewis, John Heseltine, Michael Page, John (Harrow, W.)
Brinton, Sir Tatton Higgins, Terence L. Pardoe, John
Bromley-Davenport, Lt.-Col. Sir Walter Hiley, Joseph Percival, Ian
Bruce-Gardyne, J. Hill, J. E. B. Peyton, John
Buck, Antony (Colchester) Hogg, Rt. Hn. Quintin Pike, Miss Mervyn
Bullus, Sir Eric Holland, Philip Pink, R. Bonner
Burden, F. A. Hooson, Emlyn Pounder, Rafton
Campbell, B. (Oldham, W.) Hordern, Peter Powell, Rt. Hn. J. Enoch
Carlisle, Mark Hornby, Richard Price, David (Eastleigh)
Carr, Rt. Hn. Robert Hunt, John Prior, J. M. L.
Channon, H. P. G. Iremonger, T. L. Pym, Francis
Clark, Henry Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye) Quennell, Miss J. M.
Clegg, Walter Jenkin, Patrick (Woodford) Ramsden, Rt. Hn. James
Cooke, Robert Jennings, J. C. (Burton) Rawlinson, Rt. Hn. Sir Peter
Cooper-Key, Sir Neill Johnson Smith, G. (E. Grinstead) Rees-Davies, W. R.
Cordle, John Jones, Arthur (Northants, S.) Renton, Rt. Hn. Sir David
Corfield F. V. Jopling, Michael Rhys Williams, Sir Brandon
Costain, A. P. Joseph, Rt. Hn. Sir Keith Ridley, Hn. Nicholas
Craddock, Sir Beresford (Spelthorne) Kerby, Capt. Henry Ridsdale, Julian
Crouch, David Kershaw, Anthony Robson Brown, Sir William
Crowder, F. P. Kimball, Marcus Rossi, Hugh (Hornsey)
Cunningham, Sir Knox King, Evelyn (Dorset, S.) Royle, Anthony
Currie, G. B. H. Kitson, Timothy Russell, Sir Ronald
Dalkeith, Earl of Lambton, Viscount Scott-Hopkins, James
Dance, James Lancaster, Col. C. G. Sharples, Richard
d'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Sir Henry Lane, David Shaw, Michael (Sc'b'gh & Whitby)
Dean, Paul Legge-Bourke, Sir Harry Silvester, Frederick
Deedes, Rt. Hn. W. F. (Ashford) Lewis, Kenneth (Rutland) Sinclair, Sir George
Dodds-Parker, Douglas Lloyd, Rt. Hn. Geoffrey (Sut'nC'dfield) Smith, Dudley (W'wick & L'mington)
Donnelly, Desmond Lloyd, Rt. Hn. Selwyn (Wirral) Smith, John (London & W'minster)
Doughty, Charles Lubbock, Eric Speed, Keith
Drayson, G. B. McAdden, Sir Stephen Stainton, Keith
du Cann, Rt. Hn. Edward Macleod, Rt. Hn. Iain Stoddart-Scott, Col. Sir M.
Eden, Sir John McMaster, Stanley Summers, Sir Spencer
Elliot, Capt. Walter (Carshalton) Macmillan, Maurice (Farnham) Tapsell, Peter
Emery, Peter McNair-Wilson, Michael (W'stow, E.) Taylor, Edward M. (G'gow, Cathcart)
Errington, Sir Eric McNair-Wilson, Patrick (New Forest) Taylor, Frank (Moss Side)
Eyre, Reginald Maddan, Martin Temple, John M.
Farr, John Maginnis, John E. Thatcher, Mrs. Margaret
Fisher, Nigel Marples, Rt. Hn. Ernest Thorpe, Rt. Hn. Jeremy
Fortescue, Tim Marten, Neil Turton, Rt. Hn. R. H.
Foster, Sir John Maude, Angus van Straubenzee, W. R.
Galbraith, Hn. T. G. Mawby, Ray Vaughan-Morgan, Rt. Hn. Sir John
Gilmour, Ian (Norfolk, C.) Maxwell-Hyslop, R. J. Waddington, David
Gilmour, Sir John (Fife, E.) Maydon, Lt.-Cmdr. S. L. C. Walker, Peter (Worcester)
Glover, Sir Douglas Mills, Peter (Torrington) Walker-Smith, Rt. Hn. Sir Derek
Glyn, Sir Richard Mills, Stratton (Belfast, N.) Wall, Patrick
Goodhart, Philip Miscampbell, Norman Walters, Dennis
Goodhew, Victor Mitchell, David (Basingstoke) Ward, Dame Irene
Gower, Raymond Monro, Hector Weatherill, Bernard
Grant, Anthony Morgan, Geraint (Denbigh) Wells, John (Maidstone)
Grant-Ferris, R. Morgan-Giles, Rear-Adm. Whitelaw, Rt. Hn. William
Gurden, Harold Morrison, Charles (Devizes) Wiggin, A. W.
Hall, John (Wycombe) Mott-Radclyffe, Sir Charles Williams, Donald (Dudley)
Hall-Davies, A. G. F. Munro-Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)
Hamilton, Michael (Salisbury) Murton, Oscar Wolrige-Gordon, Patrick
Harris, Frederic (Croydon, N. W.) Nabarro, Sir Gerald Wood, Rt. Hn. Richard
Harris, Reader (Heston) Neave, Airey Woodnutt, Mark
Harrison, Brian (Maldon) Nicholls, Sir Harmar Wylie, N. R.
Harrison, Col. Sir Harwood (Eye) Noble, Rt. Hn. Michael
Harvey, Sir Arthur Vere Nott, John TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Harvie Anderson, Miss Onslow, Cranley Mr. R. W. Elliott and
Hastings, Stephen Orr, Capt. L. P. S. Mr. Jasper More.

Main Question, as amended, put:

The House divided: Ayes 266, Noes 217.

Division No. 220.] AYES [7.13 p.m.
Albu, Austen Bagier, Gordon A. T. Blenkinsop, Arthur
Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.) Barnes, Michael Boardman, H. (Leigh)
Anderson, Donald Barnett, Joel Booth, Albert
Archer, Peter Baxter, William Boston, Terence
Ashley, Jack Beaney, Alan Bottomley, Rt. Hn. Arthur
Ashton, Joe (Bassetlaw) Bidwell, Sydney Boyden, James
Atkins, Ronald (Preston, N.) Binns, John Bray, Dr. Jeremy
Atkinson, Norman (Tottenham) Bishop, E. S. Brooks, Edwin
Bacon, Rt. Hn. Alice Blackburn, F. Broughton, Dr. A. D. D.
Brown, Hugh D. (G'gow, Provan) Hooley, Frank Orbach, Maurice
Brown, Bob (N'c'tle-upon-Tyne, W.) Horner, John Orme, Stanley
Brown, R. W. (Shoreditch & F'bury) Houghton, Rt. Hn. Douglas Oswald, Thomas
Buchanan, Richard (G'gow, Sp'burn) Howell, Denis (Small Heath) Owen, Dr. David (Plymouth, S'tn)
Butler, Herbert (Hackney, C.) Hoy, James Padley, Walter
Callaghan, Rt. Hn. James Huckfield, Leslie Paget, R. T.
Cant, R. B. Hughes, Rt. Hn. Cledwyn (Anglesey) Palmer, Arthur
Carmichael, Neil Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.) Pannell, Rt. Hn. Charles
Carter-Jones, Lewis Hughes, Roy (Newport) Park, Trevor
Castle, Rt. Hn. Barbara Hunter, Adam Parker, John (Dagenham)
Conlan, Bernard Hynd, John Parkin, Ben (Paddington, N.)
Corbet, Mrs. Freda Irvine, Sir Arthur (Edge Hill) Parkyn, Brian (Bedford)
Craddock, George (Bradford, S.) Jackson, Peter M. (High Peak) Pavitt, Laurence
Crawshaw, Richard Janner, Sir Barnett Pearson, Arthur (Pontypridd)
Crosland, Rt. Hn. Anthony Jay, Rt. Hn. Douglas Peart, Rt. Hn. Fred
Crossman, Rt. Hn. Richard Jenkins, Hugh (Putney) Perry, Ernest G. (Battersea, S.)
Darling, Rt. Hn. George Jenkins, Rt. Hn. Roy (Stechford) Perry, George H. (Nottingham, S.)
Prentice, Rt. Hn. R. E.
Davidson, Arthur (Accrington) Johnson, Carol (Lewisham, S.) Price, Christopher (Perry Barr)
Davies, Ednyfed Hudson (Conway) Jones, Dan (Burnley) Price, Thomas (Westhoughton)
Davies, G. Elfed (Rhondda, E.) Jones, Rt. Hn. Sir Elwyn (W. Ham, S.) Price, William (Rugby)
Davies, Dr. Ernest (Stretford) Jones, J. Idwal (Wrexham) Probert, Arthur
Davies, Rt. Hn. Harold (Leek) Jones, T. Alec (Rhondda, West) Pursey, Cmdr. Harry
Davies, Ifor (Gower) Judd, Frank Rankin, John
Delargy, Hugh Kelley, Richard Rees, Merlyn
Dell, Edmund Kenyon, Clifford Richard, Ivor
Dempsey, James Kerr, Dr. David (W'worth, Central) Roberts, Albert (Normanton)
Dewar, Donald Kerr, Russell (Feltham) Roberts, Rt. Hn. Goronwy
Diamond, Rt. Hn. John Lawson, George Roberts, Gwilym (Bedfordshire, S.)
Dickens, James Leadbitter, Ted Robinson, Rt. Hn. Kenneth (St. P'c'as)
Driberg, Tom Lee, Rt. Hn. Frederick (Newton) Rodgers, William (Stockton)
Dunn, James A. Lee, Rt. Hn. Jennie (Cannock) Roebuck, Roy
Dunnett, Jack Lee, John (Reading) Rogers, George (Kensington, N.)
Dunwoody, Dr. John (F'th & C'b'e) Lestor, Miss Joan Ross, Rt. Hn. William
Eadie, Alex Lever, Harold (Cheetham) Ryan, John
Edwards, William (Merioneth) Lever, L. M. (Ardwick) Shaw, Arnold (Ilford, S.)
Ellis, John Lewis, Ron (Carlisle) Sheldon, Robert
English, Michael Lipton, Marcus Shinwell, Rt. Hn. E.
Ennals, David Lomas, Kenneth Shore, Rt. Hn. Peter (Stepney)
Ensor, David Loughlin, Charles Short, Rt. Hn. Edward (N'c'tle-u-Tyne)
Evans, Albert (Islington, S. W.) Silkin, Rt. Hn. John (Deptford)
Evans, Fred (Caerphilly) Luard, Evan Silverman, Julius
Evans, Ioan L. (Birm'h'm, Yardley) Lyon, Alexander W. (York) Skeffington, Arthur
Faulds, Andrew Lyons, Edward (Bradford, E.) Slater, Joseph
Fernyhough, E. Mabon, Dr. J. Dickson Small, William
Finch, Harold McCann, John Spriggs, Leslie
Fletcher, Rt. Hn. Sir Eric (Islington, E.) MacColl, James Steele, Thomas (Dunbartonshire, W.)
Fletcher, Raymond (Ilkeston) Macdonald, A. H. Stewart, Rt. Hn. Michael
Fletcher, Ted (Darlington) McKay, Mrs. Margaret Strauss, Rt. Hn, G. R.
Foley, Maurice Mackenzie, Gregor (Rutherglen) Taverne, Dick
Foot, Rt. Hn. Sir Dingle (Ipswich) Mackie, John Thomas, Rt. Hn. George
Foot, Michael (Ebbw Vale) Mackintosh, John P. Thomson, Rt. Hn. George
Ford, Ben McMillan, Tom (Glasgow, C.) Thornton, Ernest
Forrester, John McNamara, J. Kevin Tinn, James
Fowler, Gerry MacPherson, Malcolm Tomney, Frank
Fraser, John (Norwood) Mahon, Peter (Preston, S.) Urwin, T. W.
Freeson, Reginald Mahon, Simon (Bootle) Varley, Eric G.
Gardner, Tony Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg) Wainwright, Edwin (Dearne Valley)
Garrett, W. E. Mallalieu, J. P. W. (Huddersfield, E.) Walden, Brian (All Saints)
Ginsburg, David Mapp, Charles Walker, Harold (Doncaster)
Gordon Walker, Rt. Hn. P. C. Marquand, David Wallace, George
Gray, Dr. Hugh (Yarmouth) Marsh, Rt. Hn. Richard Watkins, David (Consett)
Greenwood, Rt. Hn. Anthony Mason, Rt. Hn. Roy Weitzman, David
Gregory, Arnold Mayhew, Christopher Wellbeloved, James
Griffiths, David (Rother Valley) Mellish, Rt. Hn. Robert Wells, William (Walsall, N.)
Whitaker, Ben
Griffiths, Eddie (Brightside) Mikardo, Ian White, Mrs. Eirene
Griffiths, Rt. Hn. James (Llanelly) Millan, Bruce Whitlock, William
Griffiths, Will (Exchange) Miller, Dr. M. S. Wilkins, W. A.
Gunter, Rt. Hn. R. J. Mitchell, R. C. (S'th'pton, Test) Williams, Alan (Swansea, W.)
Hamilton, James (Bothwell) Morgan, Elystan (Cardiganshire) Williams, W. T. (Warrington)
Hamilton, William (Fife, W.) Morris, Alfred (Wythenshawe) Willis, Rt. Hn. George
Hamling, William Morris, Charles R. (Openshaw) Wilson, Rt. Hn. Harold (Huyton)
Hannan, William Morris, John (Aberavon) Wilson, William (Coventry, S.)
Harper, Joseph Moyle, Roland Winnick, David
Harrison, Walter (Wakefield) Mulley, Rt. Hn. Frederick Woodburn, Rt. Hn. A.
Hart, Rt. Hn. Judith Murray, Albert Woof, Robert
Hazell, Bert Neal, Harold Wyatt, Woodrow
Healey, Rt. Hn. Denis Newens, Stan
Heffer, Eric S. Norwood, Christopher TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Henig, Stanley Oakes, Gordon Mr. Charles Grey and
Herbison, Rt. Hn. Margaret Ogden, Eric Mr. Neil McBride.
Hilton, W. S. Oram, Albert E.
Alison, Michael (Barkston Ash) Gower, Raymond Murton, Oscar
Allason, James (Hemel Hempstead) Grant, Anthony Nabarro, Sir Gerald
Amery, Rt. Hn. Julian Grant-Ferris, R. Neave, Airey
Astor, John Gurden, Harold Nicholls, Sir Harmar
Atkins, Humphrey (M't'n & M'd'n) Hall, John (Wycombe) Noble, Rt. Hn. Michael
Awdry, Daniel Hall-Davis, A. G. F. Nott, John
Baker, Kenneth (Acton) Hamilton, Michael (Salisbury) Onslow, Cranley
Baker, W. H. K. (Banff) Harris, Frederic (Croydon, N. W.) Orr, Capt. L. P. S.
Balniel, Lord Harris, Reader (Heston) Orr-Ewing, Sir Ian
Batsford, Brian Harrison, Brian (Maldon) Osborn, John (Hallam)
Beamish, Col. Sir Tufton Harrison, Col. Sir Harwood (Eye) Osborne, Sir Cyril (Louth)
Bell, Ronald Harvey, Sir Arthur Vere Page, Graham (Crosby)
Bennett, Dr. Reginald (Gos. & Fhm) Harvie Anderson, Miss Page, John (Harrow, W.)
Berry, Hn. Anthony Hastings, Stephen Pardoe, John
Bessell, Peter Hawkins, Paul Percival, Ian
Biffen, John Hay, John Peyton, John
Biggs-Davison, John Heald, Rt. Hn. Sir Lionel Pike, Miss Mervyn
Birch, Rt. Hn. Nigel Heath, Rt. Hn. Edward Pink, R. Bonner
Black, Sir Cyril Heseltine, Michael Pounder, Rafton
Blaker, Peter Higgins, Terence L. Powell, Rt. Hn. J. Enoch
Boardman, Tom (Leicester, S. W.) Hiley, Joseph Price, David (Eastleigh)
Body, Richard Hill, J. E. B. Prior, J. M. L.
Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hn. John Hogg, Rt. Hn. Quintin Pym, Francis
Boyle, Rt. Hn. Sir Edward Holland, Philip Quennell, Miss J. M.
Braine, Bernard Hooson, Emlyn Ramsden, Rt. Hn. James
Brewis, John Hordern, Peter Rawlinson, Rt. Hn. Sir Peter
Brinton, Sir Tatton Hornby, Richard Rees-Davies, W. R.
Bromley-Davenport, Lt.-Col. Sir Walter Hunt, John Renton, Rt. Hn. Sir David
Bruce-Gardyne, J. Iremonger, T. L. Rhys Williams, Sir Brandon
Buck, Antony (Colchester) Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye) Ridley, Hn. Nicholas
Bullus, Sir Eric Jenkin, Patrick (Woodford) Ridsdale, Julian
Burden, F. A. Jennings, J. C. (Burton) Robson Brown, Sir William
Campbell, B. (Oldham, W.) Johnson Smith, G. (E. Grinstead) Rossi, Hugh (Hornsey)
Carlisle, Mark Jones, Arthur (Northants, S.) Royle, Anthony
Carr, Rt. Hn. Robert Jopling, Michael Russell, Sir Ronald
Channon, H. P. G. Joseph, Rt. Hn. Sir Keith Scott-Hopkins, James
Clark, Henry Kerby, Capt. Henry Sharples, Richard
Shaw, Michael (Sc'b'gh & Whitby)
Clegg, Walter Kershaw, Anthony Silvester, Frederick
Cooke, Robert Kimball, Marcus Sinclair, Sir George
Cooper-Key, Sir Neill King, Evelyn (Dorset, S.) Smith, Dudley (W'wick & L'mington)
Cordle, John Kitson, Timothy Smith, John (London & W'minster)
Corfield, F. V. Lambton, Viscount Speed, Keith
Costain, A. P. Lancaster, Col. C. G. Stainton, Keith
Craddock, Sir Beresford (Spelthorne) Lane, David Stoddart-Scott, Col. Sir M.
Crouch, David Legge-Bourke, Sir Harry Summers, Sir Spencer
Crowder, F. P. Lewis, Kenneth (Rutland) Tapsell, Peter
Cunningham, Sir Knox Lloyd, Rt. Hn. Geoffrey (Sut'nC'dfield) Taylor, Edward M. (G'gow, Cathcart)
Currie, G. B. H. Lloyd, Rt. Hn. Selwyn (Wirral) Taylor, Frank (Moss Side)
Dalkeith, Earl of Lubbock, Eric Temple, John M.
Dance, James McAdden, Sir Stephen Thatcher, Mrs. Margaret
d'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Sir Henry Macleod, Rt. Hn. Iain Thorpe, Rt. Hn. Jeremy
Dean, Paul McMaster, Stanley Turton, Rt. Hn. R. H.
Deedes, Rt. Hn. W. F. (Ashford) Macmillan, Maurice (Farnham) van Straubenzee, W. R.
Dodds-Parker, Douglas McNair-Wilson, Michael (W'stow, E.) Vaughan-Morgan, Rt. Hn. Sir John
Donnelly, Desmond McNair-Wilson, Patrick (New Forest) Waddington, David
Doughty, Charles Maddan, Martin Walker, Peter (Worcester)
Drayson, G. B. Maginnis, John E. Walker-Smith, Rt. Hn. Sir Derek
du Cann, Rt. Hn. Edward Marples, Rt. Hn. Ernest Wall, Patrick
Eden, Sir John Marten, Neil Walters, Dennis
Elliot, Capt. Walter (Carshalton) Maude, Angus Ward, Dame Irene
Emery, Peter Mawby, Ray Weatherill, Bernard
Errington, Sir Eric Maxwell-Hyslop, R. J. Wells, John (Maidstone)
Eyre, Reginald Maydon, Lt.-Cmdr. S. L. C Whitelaw, Rt. Hn. William
Farr, John Mills, Peter (Torrington) Wiggin, A. W.
Fisher, Nigel Mills, Stratton (Belfast, N.) Williams, Donald (Dudley)
Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)
Fortescue, Tim Miscampbell, Norman Wolrige-Gordon, Patrick
Foster, Sir John Mitchell, David (Basingstoke) Wood, Rt. Hn. Richard
Galbraith, Hn. T. G. Monro, Hector Woodnutt, Mark
Gilmour, Ian (Norfolk, C.) Morgan, Geraint (Denbigh) Wylie, N. R.
Gilmour, Sir John (Fife, E.) Morgan-Giles, Rear-Adm.
Glover, Sir Douglas Morrison, Charles (Devizes) TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Glyn, Sir Richard Mott-Radclyffe, Sir Charles Mr. R. W. Elliott and
Goodhart, Philip Munro-Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh Mr. Jasper More.
Goodhew, Victor

Resolved, That this House congratulates Her Majesty's Government on the success of its housing policy, as a result of which it is anticipated that by the end of 1969 two million new houses will have been completed since the General Election of 1964; on its reform of town and country planning; on its welcome proposal now before Parliament for the payment of some generous improvement grants on old houses, for the speeding up of slum clearance, and for the removal of the grossly unfair bases for compensation payable to owner-occupiers in clearance areas whom previous Conservative administrations failed to help; on its effective action against escalating rents and its encouragement of long-overdue rent rebate schemes; on the provision of a domestic rate subsidy for the current year of 1s. 3d. in the £ in England and Wales, 2s. 6d. in the £ in Scotland; on its recent improvement of the rate rebate scheme introduced by the present Government and of very great value to ratepayers most in need of help; on the increased assistance it has given to voluntary housing associations providing housing by improvement and conversion; and on its provision of option mortgages and the help towards home ownership.

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