§ 2. Mr. Frank Allaun
asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government what steps he proposes to expand the building programme in the private housing sector; and if they will include permission to the banks to include loans to house builders in the priority lending list.
§ The Minister of State, Ministry of Housing and Local Government (Mr. Graham Page)
We have embarked upon discussion with the builders to discuss ways in which the decline in the building programme in the private housing sector can be arrested.
§ Mr. Allaun
Will the Minister tell the Chancellor of the Exchequer that the serious decline in the private sector is due mainly to the fact that small and medium-sized builders cannot get bank loans, and, secondly, that there has been a great improvement in the country's financial position during the last six months which should permit the situation to be altered?
§ Mr. Page
The availability of bank loans is one of the matters which we are discussing with builders, which, among other factors, will improve house-building programmes.
§ Mr. Allason
Has my hon. Friend found any evidence for the theory that the reduction by 41,000 of the number of houses built in the private sector last year was due to the influence of Tory councils?
§ Mr. Page
I would rather await the outcome of the discussions, when we can make a full statement on this matter, with the co-operation of the builders.