HC Deb 09 December 1970 vol 808 cc404-5
27. Mr. George Cunningham

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what advice he has given to local authorities on the provision by them of so-called higher rented accommodation in the London area, in view of his inquiry into the matter in South Islington.

Mr. Channon

I assume that the hon. Member is referring to the conversion schemes in Bachelor Street and Barnsbury Street, Islington. Arrangements have been made to ensure that the Department is consulted about any improvement or conversion schemes where the cost is likely to exceed the appropriate London maxima before the local authority or housing association is committed.

Mr. Cunningham

Does the Minister understand that if present trends continue Inner London will become an area where it is impossible for people on average earnings to afford to live? Will he agree that the policy of the G.L.C. in this respect exacerbates that trend, and will he use his influence to reverse the policy now being pursued?

Mr. Channon

The problems of Inner London are exceedingly worrying, although I do not accept all that the hon. Gentleman says about the policies of the G.L.C. But it is a bit thick for us to be criticised when the party opposite was in power for six years.