HC Deb 09 December 1970 vol 808 cc410-1
34. Mr. William Hamilton

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he intends to maintain the 85 per cent. grant to local authorities for the clearance of derelict sites.

Mr. Graham Page

Grant at 85 per cent. is payable in the development areas, and this will be maintained, as my right hon. Friend told the hon. Member in answer to a Question on 25th November.

Mr. Hamilton

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that that is a very satisfactory answer as far as it goes but is there not still a vast amount of work to be done in this field? What active steps are the Government taking positively to encourage local authorities to get on with the job?

Mr. Page

Under the present rate of grant, schemes for reclamation are being approved at an increasing rate. I think that local authorities concerned have this well in mind and the programme which they have in hand is not disappointing.

Mr. Blenkinsop

As the Prime Minister himself has said that fresh steps are to be taken to increase the total amount of dereliction clearing, why does not the Minister announce an increase to 100 per cent. grant, in these special cases?

Mr. Page

The programme is increasing, as my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister said. Local authorities receive assistance other than the 85 per cent. grant. The development areas are getting about 95 per cent. assistance from the Exchequer through the rate support grant.