HC Deb 16 December 1970 vol 808 cc1344-5
40. Mr. Peter Archer

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will take steps to encourage local authorities to establish within housing departments a housing advisory service.

Mr. Amery

It is my intention to send a memorandum to selected local authorities in the near future. This will recommend the establishment of comprehensive housing aid centres, wherever they are needed, by local authorities or by voluntary organisations or by a combination of the two.

Mr. Archer

I thank the right hon. Gentleman for that reply, but would he not agree that there is no difficulty here, that local authority housing lists could be substantially relieved if suitable families were advised of alternative possibilities? Is this really beyond the resources of local authorities?

Mr. Amery

I agree with the hon. Gentleman: I do not think that this is an insuperable problem. We have to stimulate the interest of public authorities. Some of them, like Lambeth, have already done a first-class job of work, but there are differences of opinion whether the housing aid centres should be within or outside the local authority. I think that it is a good thing that there should be pilot schemes in different parts so that we can learn in the light of experience.