HC Deb 26 January 1972 vol 829 cc1366-7
4. Mr. Hugh Jenkins

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment how many dewellings there are per 1,000 inhabitants in Great Britain and France, respectively; and what further action he proposes to take to increase the British figure.

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

Crude figures of this kind do not provide a reliable way of comparing housing in the two countries. In 1968, the latest date for which figures are available for both countries, France had rather more houses per 1,000 population than Great Britain—342 as against 336—but ours provided better standards of accommodation.

Mr. Jenkins

While recognising that what the hon. Gentleman says is true, that the quality of British houses is better than that of French houses, may I ask him to recognise that much private house building is the building of a second house, with a publicly subsidised mortgage, for someone who already has one house? Will he reverse the present trend and encourage the building of council houses, which is the building of houses for people who have no house?

Mr. Channon

My right hon. Friend has made it clear that we wish to see a substantial increase in housing of all kinds.