HC Deb 05 July 1972 vol 840 cc541-2
18. Mr. R. C. Mitchell

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment how many starts in local authority housing in Southampton have taken place in 1971 and up to the present time in 1972; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Eyre

In 1971 there were 214 starts and up to the end of May, 1972, there were 201 starts.

Mr. Mitchell

Is not the figure for 1971 absolutely disgraceful? When the Labour Party held control of Southampton Council before 1967 the figure of starts was running at over 1,000 a year. Is not this a good example of Tory local government?

Mr. Eyre

It is for each local council to consider its housing needs and how best it can meet them. The present Government, unlike the last one, placed no restriction on the amount that local authorities may borrow to build houses.

Mr. James Hill

Does my hon. Friend agree that in the past, when Southampton was Labour-controlled, the rate of building of council properties was at the ratio of two to one to private development, and that it is now more like one to one? Is not this a more equitable and good social mix?

Mr. Eyre

My hon. Friend is right in explaining that there are a number of ways in which local needs for housing can be catered for.