§ 40 and 41. Mr. Goronwy Roberts
asked the Secretary of State for Wales (1) how many Welsh housing authorities have made representations to him about the discontinuance of the special subsidy for the use of slate for roofing purposes and if he will make a statement;
§ (2) if provision through a rising cost subsidy to cover a housing authority adversely affected by the cost of providing slate for roofing purposes, under the Housing Act, 1972, will at least compensate such authorities for the loss of additional subsidy for the use of special materials payable under the Housing Subsidies Act, 1967.
§ The Minister of State, Welsh Office (Mr. David Gibson-Watt)
My right hon. and learned Friend has received no representations direct from any Welsh housing authority but the right hon. Member and my hon. Friend the Member for Conway (Mr. Wyn Roberts) have forwarded to him a letter addressed to them by Ffestiniog Urban District Council.
The extra cost involved in providing slate in appropriate cases can be counted as reckonable expenditure for rising costs subsidy. That part of the subsidy attributable to the use of slate or other special materials will vary according to circumstances, but an authority qualifying for rising costs subsidy could receive as much as 85 per cent. of the cost of providing a new dwelling, including the cost of special material such as slate, compared with just over 50 per cent. at present.
§ Mr. Roberts
While thanking the Minister of State for that reply, may I ask whether he is aware that various 785 authorities in whose areas slate is produced and used are concerned about the possibility of their coming out less well under the 1972 Act than under the 1967 Act? Will he, in order to check the percentages which he has just given, meet those authorities—there are only half a dozen of them—on the spot and discuss their apprehensions with them?
§ Mr. Gibson-Watt
I would certainly have no objection to going to considerable lengths to put their fears at rest. Fortunately, the answer that I have given to the right hon. Gentleman is highly satisfactory.