HC Deb 28 April 1971 vol 816 cc397-8
3. Mr. Batsford

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment how many properties are listed for slum clearance in the London Borough of Ealing.

Mr. Channon

The current programme provides for 344 houses to be dealt with by the end of 1973.

Mr. Batsford

I thank my hon. Friend for that reply. Would he agree that in this case also many misleading statements have been made by the Labour Party about slum clearance in Ealing?

Mr. Channon

I am glad to say that by the end of 1973 only isolated cases of slum property will remain to be dealt with.

Mr. Spearing

Would the hon. Gentleman agree that, whatever the facts may be about the programme of slum clearance, the London Borough of Ealing started only 22 council dwellings in the whole of 1970?

Mr. Channon

I am glad that the hon. Gentleman, unlike his hon. Friend, does not challenge the figure of slum clearance. I am glad to say that I understand the council proposes to put 2,000 dwellings to tender by the end of 1972, apart from the substantial assistance which it is giving to housing associations.

Mr. Freeson

Is the Minister aware that his own Department, as well as County Hall, has estimates of 150,000 slum or near-slum properties in Greater London, mostly in Central London, apart from about 250,000 seriously sub-standard properties? If this figure is correct even within a margin, how can he try to assure the public, the local authorities and this House that only isolated pockets of slum clearance will remain in these boroughs and in central London? Ealing, it is believed in the Department, has several thousand slum properties, and the hon. Gentleman should not mislead the House.

Mr. Channon

The hon. Gentleman was utterly misleading in his article. In our reform of housing finance we shall be giving help to those areas in worse need, which the Labour Government signally failed to do.

Mr. Molloy

Is the Minister aware that in the London Borough of Ealing there are 5,000 people in need of homes? I know that he will acknowledge that there is a world of difference between accommodation and homes, and this is why people are on housing registers. He will also know that local authorities have sold land which they took over from their predecessors—land on which they could have built council houses which, in turn, could have made a massive contribution to the slum clearance problem in Ealing. Would he bear these matters in mind and try to make a reasonable contribution to give homes to people who are sorely in need of them?

Mr. Channon

The hon. Member's tendentious remarks are not borne out by the figures. The local authority proposes to put 2,000 dwellings to tender by the end of 1972.