§ 28. Mr. Skinner
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what are the latest figures for housebuilding in the public sector, and what is the yearly total for 1971.
§ Mr. Skinner
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the year's total will show that council house-building is lower than at any time since 1961 when the Conservatives were last in power? Is it not time that the right hon. Gentleman got his social priorities into the right order and told his Department to double the amount of council house-building that is due to take place in 1972 rather than instruct it in wasting time preparing dud Questions for his back-bench stooges?
§ Mr. Frank Allaun
Is not there bound to be a further serious decline in council house-building next year because of the fall in starts this year? Second, will not the decline be even worse because the Government are to double council rents, which will mean that many families in serious housing need will be unable to go into council houses even after rebate, if they get it?
§ Mr. Allaun
On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. I am sorry to interrupt but the Minister knows very well that the year's figures are down, and therefore it is cheating—
§ Mr. Tebbit
So that we can get rid of some of this irrational hatred of hon. Members opposite of the number of houses being built for private ownership exceeding those being built for municipal tenancies, could we not have a survey conducted sometime into the number of people who are anxiously waiting to buy a house as well as some of the puffed-up figures produced for local elections of the number of people on waiting lists?
§ Mr. Crosland
Only a minor civil servant could have planted that supplementary question.
I am delighted, I may say, by the October figures, but, judging from the figures in today's papers, quoting the latest statistics from the Department, is it not the case that the third quarter's figures are still down on the second quarter? Are we not in a period when the Chancellor of the Exchequer is trying to increase public investment in every sector in which this is possible? Why has not the Minister been able to persuade the Chancellor to do something for this one critical field of housing?