HC Deb 28 April 1971 vol 816 cc396-7
2. Sir B. Rhys Williams

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what is now the situation with regard to slum clearance in Kensington and Chelsea.

Mr. Channon

A programme to clear 259 unfit houses is in hand, and on completion of this at the end of 1973, only isolated pockets of slum dwellings should remain in the borough.

Sir B. Rhys Williams

Does my hon. Friend appreciate that the slum clearance problem in the borough of Kensington and Chelsea will be complete in five years time? Does he also appreciate that this year the borough will have to bear a rate equalisation burden of £890,000? Does he not regard this as excessive?

Mr. Channon

Kensington and Chelsea have many serious housing conditions, although they have done extremely well with the slum clearance problem. I am looking forward to visiting Kensington and Chelsea tomorrow morning when I shall have the opportunity of discussing these and other matters with them.

Mr. Freeson

Would the hon. Gentleman take another look at this matter, in regard to not only Kensington but also Haringey. He must know that sample surveys were undertaken in the Department showing that there were some 5,000 slums in Haringey and similar figures for Kensington, and that these figures have been accepted for a long time. He must know that it is misleading to the people who live in bad housing conditions to suggest that after the clearance of about 1,000 to 1,200 dwellings in the next three years there will be only isolated matters to be dealt with. The situation is very serious, and it does not behove the hon. Gentleman to be smug and complacent about it.

Mr. Channon

On the contrary, it was the hon. Gentleman himself in his recent utterly misleading and reprehensible article who gave a totally false impression of the problem.