HC Deb 17 March 1971 vol 813 c1389
2. Mr. Hugh D. Brown

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will make a further statement on the progress to date of his discussions with local authorities and other property owners on the reform of housing finance.

Mr. Gordon Campbell

My hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State for Development is meeting the local authority associations on 22nd March. I have already said I will consider the publication of a White Paper when the consultations are complete.

Mr. Brown

Is it not intolerable that after a nine-month period of gestation there is no evidence of anything being produced? Could the right hon. Gentleman clear up the doubt arising from his replies three weeks ago on the rate contribution to housing accounts? Do the Government intend to reduce or remove the rate burden on local authorities?

Mr. Campbell

On the first point, there should be no uncertainty about the main lines of the reforms in housing finance. As to the second point, I mentioned that at the present ratepayers of Scotland are paying 35 per cent. of the costs of council housing compared with 7 per cent. in England. We intend to reduce that to relieve the burden on Scottish ratepayers.