HC Deb 03 March 1970 vol 797 cc235-6
2. Mr. Pardoe

asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government what is the percentage difference in the cost of building council houses in the South-West and the South-East of England which is taken into account by his Department in assessing eligibility for subsidy; when this percentage difference calculated.

was last changed; and how it is

The Joint Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Housing and Local Government (Mr. Reginald Freeson)

The South-West Region qualifies for a 6 per cent. addition to the yardsticks compared with 10 per cent. for the South- East Region. The regional variations, which were last changed in April, 1969, are based upon a comparative analysis of tender prices.

Mr. Pardoe

Is the Minister aware that this figure does not square with the experience of many local authorities, particularly in Cornwall, which are getting a subsidy of substantially less than 100 per cent. of the cost of supplying new council houses? This is having a catastrophic effect on the rents of new council houses, which very few potential tenants can afford.

Mr. Freeson

I am not quite clear what the hon. Gentleman is saying. Is he suggesting that there is not a difference along the lines I have suggested between the South-West and the South-East? I think that he should check his facts a little more carefully before pursuing this point. On the general level of cost, the yardsticks are the subject of review at the present time.