HC Deb 30 June 1971 vol 820 c388
28. Mr. Marks

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what is the estimated average weekly rent, exclusive of rates, of council houses in England and what is the estimated gross rateable value.

Mr. Channon

I would refer the hon. Member to the latest Housing Statistics (England and Wales) Part I, published by the Institute of Municipal Treasurers and Accountants, a copy of which is in the Library.

Mr. Marks

Does the hon. Gentleman consider that gross rateable value is a reasonable basis for establishing a fair rent? Is it not possible for rent officers to examine individual houses before fixing rents?

Mr. Channon

I must ask the hon. Member to await the detailed consultations going on at the moment. The whole purpose of reform will be that for the first time the rents of council houses will depend on their size and location and amenities and that that will be a genuine basis for a fair rent.

Mr. Crosland

Can the hon. Gentleman tell us how he thinks that the fair rent level will compare with the present average rent level to which he made reference? Secondly, can he tell us when we may expect a statement on housing finance?

Mr. Channon

As soon as the consultations are complete. As my right hon. Friend has told the right hon. Gentleman on many occasions, we are only too anxious to report to the House of Commons about these matters. In future the only criterion for the rents of council houses will be the fair rent.