HC Deb 07 April 1970 vol 799 c218
8. Mr. Molloy

asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government what was the amount of housing subsidy given in the last year for which figures are available to the London Borough of Ealing.

Mr. Freeson

About £561,000 in 1969–70, Sir.

Mr. Molloy

Would my hon. Friend agree that, despite the generosity of the Government in their efforts to try to solve the nation's housing problem, boroughs like the London Borough of Ealing appear to be completely devoid of any compassion or sense of urgency in trying to rehouse people in the borough who are desperately in need of homes? Is he with me in condemning the London Borough of Ealing on its housing record?

Mr. Freeson

I have been to see representatives of the London Borough of Ealing. I regret to say that, to date, despite lengthy discussions, probings and urgings on the borough to increase its building programme, a matter of considerable importance to people living in disgraceful housing conditions, the authority has so far not attempted to meet the wishes of the Ministry.

Mr. Rossi

Would not the hon. Gentleman agree, from the figures published by the A.M.T.I., that the capital value of the housing stock of this borough is less than the debt charge, and that that in itself is a discouragement to local authorities and is a direct result of Government interest policy?

Mr. Freeson

The hon. Gentleman may seek to rationalise the situation in boroughs with this kind of problem—boroughs which are not facing up sufficiently to the problem—in that rather gobbledygook fashion. The plain fact is that there is now more Government financial assistance available to housing priority areas such as this, and other boroughs in Inner London, than ever before. There is no reason at all why this borough should not increase its building activities.