§ 20. Mr. Kinnock
asked the Secretary of State for Wales how many local authorities in Wales have refused to implement the Housing Finance Act, 1972.
§ Mr. Peter Thomas
Of the 168 local housing authorities in Wales, three have informed me that they still do not intend to implement the Housing Finance Act.
§ Mr. Kinnock
Does the Secretary of State realise that the names of Bedwas and Machen, Merthyr Tydfil and Vaynor and Penderyn read, for thousands of people in Wales, as a roll of honour? Does he recall that in the account of the Downing Street talks which ceased last week it is reported that the Prime Minister was prepared to make concessions 614 after acknowledging the pressures that will result from the implementation of the Housing Finance Act? In the light of that, will the Secretary of State concede the claims made by these local authorities and declare the rents which they currently charge to be fair rents?
§ Mr. Thomas
The three authorities to which the hon. Gentleman has referred have been in touch with me. Representatives of Merthyr Tydfil were seen by my hon. Friend the Minister of State last Friday and I believe that further meetings will take place. Vaynor and Penderyn will be having a meeting on 9th November, and I hope that Bedwas and Machen will reconsider the attitude they have adopted, no doubt supported by very misguided people.
§ Sir A. Meyer
Will my right hon. and learned Friend take note of the incitement by the hon. Member for Bedwellty (Mr. Kinnock) to local authorities to violate the law? Is he in a position to estimate the number of needy families which have been deprived of a rent rebate because of the doctrinaire refusal by these authorities to implement the Housing Finance Act?
§ Mr. Thomas
In the areas of all the authorities referred to by the hon. Gentleman there are many people who would benefit from the rebate allowances in the Act. I hope that the hon. Gentleman will be guided by his right hon. Friend who has given very sensible advice to all the local authorities in Wales.