HC Deb 31 March 1971 vol 814 cc1483-4
16 and 17. Mr. George Cunningham

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment (1) if he is now able to estimate the number of tenants in private accommodation in the borough of Islington to whom rebates will be payable under the Government's proposed rebate scheme;

(2) what indication he has now been able to give to local authorities of the estimated total value of rebates to be paid to tenants in private accommodation under the Government's proposed scheme.

The Under-Secretary of State for the Environment (Mr. Paul Channon)

The value of rent allowances and the number of tenants eligible for them will depend on the details of the national scheme of rent rebates and allowances. My right hon. Friend is still discussing these with the local authority associations.

Mr. Cunningham

Does the hon. Gentleman realise that that is exactly what he has been saying for months and that it is patently obvious that when he goes to the local authorities to discuss this idea of a scheme, the first question they must put to him is, "How much have you in mind?". Since he must have given some indication to the local authorities, will he tell the House whether he is thinking in terms of £10 million, £50 million or £100 million for the scheme?

Mr. Channon

I can understand the hon. Member, whose Government signally failed to introduce a system to help tenants, being sore about our success in so doing. These matters are still under discussion with the local authorities and it would be quite improper to give any indication at all at this stage.

Mr. Marsh

The hon. Gentleman is under an obligation to give the House a little more information than that. Will he tell the House whether the additional funds, whatever they may be, are to be arrived at by a re-allocation of the existing amounts available, which are inadequate, or whether the Government are prepared to make additional funds available?

Mr. Channon

My right hon. Friend has already answered an earlier Question this afternoon and promised a very full statement as soon as these consultations have taken place. It would be in the interests of the House to await that.