§ 1. Mr. McBride
asked the Secretary of State for Wales if he will appoint a task force to assist him in removing impediments to housing construction in Wales.
§ The Minister of State, Welsh Office (Mr. David Gibson-Watt)
No, Sir. A task force would not be appropriate to deal with the problems of house building.
§ Mr. McBride
Is the Minister aware that it is necessary to secure immediate control of land and house prices in Wales since traditional terraced houses there are being put up for auction at inflationary prices which are a national disgrace? Does he appreciate that Welsh Office insistence 2 on local authority housing tenders being put out to advertisement is inhibiting construction of houses in Swansea? Is he further aware that this has happened with old folks' villas at Morriston, Swansea? Will he see that no restriction is placed upon the city of Swansea in constructing local authority housing?
§ Mr. Gibson-Watt
A task force does not seem to be appropriate to deal with the problems of house building. I will be writing to the hon. Gentleman and his hon. Friend the Member for Swansea, West (Mr. Alan Williams) about their request for a discussion on certain housing problems in the two constituencies.
§ Mr. George Thomas
Is the hon. Gentleman aware that if the task force can help him in providing jobs in the steel industry, he is equally in need of such help in housing because of the chaos to which he has reduced the building of houses to rent in Wales? Is he aware that he owes Wales a statement about what plans he has for improving the situation?
§ Mr. Gibson-Watt
I do not consider that a task force is the right answer. I admit that the problems of the building industry in Wales, as elsewhere, are extremely complicated. They have been further complicated by the fact that there was a 12-week strike last year during July, August and September, which builders have always considered to be the best building months.