§ 9. Mr. Skinner
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment how many houses were built in 1970; and how the figure compares with the average for the five years 1965 to 1969, inclusive.
§ 50. Mr. Allason
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment how many houses were built in 1970; and how the figure compares for each of the years 1965 to 1969.
§ Mr. Skinner
Is the Minister aware that one of the main reasons for the disappointing fall in 1970 was that his right hon. Friend the now Secretary of State for the Environment advised all Tory local authorities on 7th June, 1969 to resist the temptation to go on building council houses for two seemingly good purposes? Will he now give instructions to all local authorities, especially Coventry, not to take heed of the advice which he gave?
§ Mr. Frank Allaun
On a point of order. The Minister has just said that the quotation was unfounded. Previously the Secretary of State has said that it is unfounded. I have here the conference report—
§ Mr. Speaker
Order. If it is a serious point of order, the custom is that it should come at the end of Question Time. 525 If it is a point of argument, it is no use at any time.
§ Mr. Allaun
Mr. Speaker, I must do it now. I ask you to understand that I am not one who gets up on points of order. I do this because the House has twice been told that the Secretary of State did not utter those words. I have here the verbatim first-person conference report, and therefore I say that the Secretary of State is misleading the House on a vital matter.
§ Mr. Speaker
I must endeavour to convince the hon. Member that I have no responsibility for a Minister's answer, nor have I any responsibility for what an hon. Member may say. Therefore, this cannot possibly be a point of order.
§ Mr. Allason
In view of the allegation that the collapse of the housing programme in 1969 and 1970 was due to a reduction in council house building, will my right hon. Friend remind the Opposition that 80 per cent. of the reduction was in the private sector, or a figure very close to that?