HC Deb 18 October 1971 vol 823 cc352-3
12. Mr. Roderick

asked the Secretary of State for Wales what is his estimate of the additional cost to local authorities in Wales in implementing the proposals in "A Fair Deal For Housing".

Mr. Gibson-Watt

No firm estimates can be made at this stage. But it is expected that ratepayers will, overall, pay less towards housing costs than if the present system continued, and that the burden of rate fund contributions will be more evenly spread.

Mr. Roderick

Is the hon. Gentleman not aware that even though he has no precise estimate at this stage there will be an extra increase in local government expenditure to cover the new rent assessment officers who will be appointed, and the lowering of Central Government subsidy will of necessity involve further expenditure by local authorities because this has to be shared with private tenants as well as council tenants?

Mr. Gibson-Watt

Many Welsh local councils now make very high rate fund contributions to their housing revenue accounts, and benefit for these authorities will result from these proposals.

Mr. Kinnock

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that the probability, arising from the application of "Fair Deal for Housing" is that there will be a surplus on the various accounts of local authorities? Can he tell us what justification there is for farming the surplus back to the Treasury in the form of a tax on people who pay rents that are well above what they should be?

Mr. Gibson-Watt

The hon. Gentleman has got it wrong. If he will be good enough to read "Fair Deal for Housing" in detail he will see that this is the most progressive and helpful policy that the housing sphere has ever seen from any Government.