HC Deb 31 March 1971 vol 814 cc1470-1
2. Mr. Skinner

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he has now completed the consultations with the local authority associations regarding the new form of housing subsidies.

Mr. Amery

Consultations are still in progress.

Mr. Skinner

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the longer the consultations with the local authority associations go on, the more alarming the prospect of massive council rent increases becomes? Will he now tell the House that there will be no council rent increases of £1 a week as a result of the negotiations and the cuts that will follow?

Mr. Amery

I must ask the hon. Gentleman to await the conclusion of my discussions with the local authority associations. As I have said previously, I shall make as full a statement as possible to the House when they are over.

Mr. Frank Allaun

How did the councils react to the right hon. Gentleman's recent statement that loans already entered into for 60 years at 4 per cent. will not be honoured? Is not it inevitable that his scheme, whatever it is, will mean the doubling and trebling of many council rents following the reduction of the subsidy by £150 million a year?

Mr. Amery

The hon. Gentleman is asking two questions which are not on the Order Paper. We have been discussing with the local authority associations the method of progressing to fair rents.

Mr. Crosland

Has the right hon. Gentleman seen the recent report of the National Economic Development Office suggesting that council house building, if nothing is done, is likely to decline throughout the decade? What element in the proposed new policy is likely to arrest that decline?

Mr. Amery

The right hon. Gentleman should await my fuller statement when my deliberations with the local authority associations are completed. But I can say here and now that one aim of our proposals is to give the local authorities greater resources and greater incentive to build in the areas of stress.