HC Deb 28 April 1971 vol 816 c409
17. Mr. Rost

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment when his Department expects to produce the report on the evidence received by the Cohen Committee; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Peter Walker

The report, based on the evidence gathered by the Cohen Committee, was submitted to the Central Housing Advisory Committee this week. I hope that the report, which will be published shortly, will prove a basis for discussion about housing associations.

Mr. Rost

Now that we have a Government who are reversing the trend of the past six years of declining house building and who are, moreover, committed to more home ownership, can I have an assurance from my right hon. Friend that when the report of the Cohen Committee on help for housing associations is debated the Government will give it more than favourable consideration so that housing associations can be enabled to make a major contribution to home ownership in the future?

Mr. Walker

My right hon. Friend the Minister for Housing and Construction has already been in close consultation with a number of leading figures in the housing association movement and his Department to ensure that the movement expands.

Mr. Marks

In how many of the last six years did house building decline, and how did the figure for total building in the last six years compare with the previous six years?

Mr. Walker

I cannot give figures, but what I know is that on 18th June last year I inherited one of the fastest-declining housing programmes ever.