HC Deb 25 November 1970 vol 807 c408
15. Mr. Frank Allaun

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will state the approximate number of families on council house waiting lists at the latest available dates; and if he will name them.

Mr. Amery

This information is not available within the Department.

Mr. Allaun

Well, it ought to be, because I can provide it. Since the Government have announced that they will cut subsidies by between £100 million and £200 million a year of what they would be in 1974, does that not inevitably mean such high rent increases for most working-class families that they will not be able to take up the houses and consequently there will be an acceleration of the fall in public house-building?

Mr. Amery

The hon. Gentleman began by commenting that the information ought to be available. Certainly Lord Greenwood and his predecessor did not think that this was necessary. On his second point, he will find that those who can afford to pay increased rents will be paying them, while those who are in need will benefit from the rebate, and there will be extra funds available for slum clearance and other emergency problems.

Mr. Marsh

But the right hon. Gentleman must be aware that there are estimates around the country, and that, in London alone, it is estimated that there are about 195,000 families in need of accommodation. How can the Conservative Party begin to draw up a housing policy if they have no idea of the size of the problem?

Mr. Amery

We have been only a fairly short time in power. It is interesting that, over the six years that the right hon. Gentleman's Party were in power, they never attempted to collect these figures.