HC Deb 31 July 1972 vol 842 cc17-8
19. Mr. Abse

asked the Secretary of State for Wales what advice he is giving about ways in which development corporation tenants may be made aware of their rights to appeal against new rent assessments; and whether he will make a statement.

Mr. Gibson-Watt

Housing authorities, including development corporations, will be responsible for publishing provisional assessments of the fair rents of their dwellings. Every tenant has a right to make representations to his authority against the provisional assessments within two months of their publication. The corporation has already notified all tenants of these procedures.

Mr. Abse

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that because of the spurious method of calculation forced by the Welsh Office on the Cwmbran Development Corporation and because of the miserable inbuilt rebate scheme in the Housing Finance Act, at least five out of six tenants in the Cwmbran new town will have onerous, unfair and unjust rent increases forced upon them? In the light of that, in addition to the action already taken will the hon. Gentleman insist that the Cwmbran Development Corporation gives a special notification to every tenant of his right to appeal individually and collectively in order that the tenants may challenge the intended unjust rents in Cwmbran?

Mr. Gibson-Watt

I cannot accept everything that the hon. Gentleman has said. The development corporation will in the first instance provisionally assess the fair rents to be charged. Tenants will be able to make representations to the corporation, which may then reassess the rent or confirm it as previously assessed. The corporation must, within four months of publishing its original provisional assessments, submit them to the rent scrutiny board which will either confirm the rents or substitute others.

Mr. McBride

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that, subsequent to what he said must be done, the rent scrutiny board may alter the provisional rent assessment and that no matter what representations are made to any local authority or new town its determination—a determination made by a non-elected body—is final?

Mr. Gibson-Watt

I think that this matter was discussed in considerable detail in the Committee of which the hon. Gentleman had experience.