HC Deb 02 December 1970 vol 807 cc1257-8
3. Mr. Douglas

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will publish his estimate of the effect on Scottish local authority rent levels of a fair rents policy and the balancing of the housing revenue accounts.

Mr. Gordon Campbell

The fair rent formula cannot be applied at present to council rents in Scotland, for reasons which make an estimate of its effect impossible. The future level of rents will depend on the detailed arrangements which will shortly be discussing with the local authority associations based on a true rent formula and annual progression by reasonable steps.

Mr. Douglas

Does the right hon. Gentleman recall his speech on 16th October at Perth? Will he confirm or deny that the inevitability of Tory gradualness in Scottish local authority rents will mean rent increases around 200 per cent. and that we can look forward to local authority housing rents in Scotland in the region of £7 a week?

Mr. Campbell

I remember my words very well and they explained our policy clearly. Our policy includes a proper rent rebate scheme in the private sector for the first time, as well as in the public sector. In this way those who are badly off will be assisted in their housing by central government funds, and the Scot- tish ratepayers will no longer be expected to subsidise many who do not need it. Scottish ratepayers at present are paying 35 per cent. of the council house annual expenditure as opposed to 7 per cent. in England.

Mr. Ross

Am I right in saying that the one thing that is clear in the Tory Government's housing policy is that rents will go up both for local authority houses and for private houses?

Mr. Campbell

Some of the rents will go up where they are inordinately low, by reasonable steps. The right hon. Gentleman appeared to be encouraging the same thing when he was in office.