§ 3. Mr. Skinner
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he has now completed his consultations with the local authority associations regarding housing subsidy charges; and if he will make a statement.
§ 36. Mr. Meacher
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he can now give a precise indication of when he expects to conclude his consultations with local authorities, concerning his proposals to refashion housing subsidies.
§ The Minister for Housing and Construction (Mr. Julian Amery)
I will report to the House as soon as possible.
§ Mr. Skinner
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that when the consultations are finally over the implementation of the Act will be against the background of massive Labour majorities in most towns and cities? Does the right hon. Gentleman appreciate that in such a situation some of these authorities—I hope 1311 many of them—will use every means at their disposal to avoid implementing a policy which means doubling and trebling rents by his Tory Government? In that kind of situation, can we expect the right hon. Gentleman to restrict the freedom of local action?
§ Mr. Allason
Does my right hon. Friend find it likely that Labour councils would object to a fair rent scheme?
§ Mr. Crosland
I think we should clear this up. Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that in no circumstances would a Labour Government, if re-elected, have adopted the principle of fair rents in the public sector since, as the Prices and Incomes Board and many other bodies have made clear, there is no logical analogy between the private rented sector and the public rented sector? Will the right hon. Gentleman take my hon. Friend's question about' the date of announcement more seriously because, if as is rumoured, he proposes to force local authorities to raise rents under the new scheme in April next year, it is becoming a matter of the greatest urgency that they should know where they stand?