HC Deb 05 February 1973 vol 850 cc8-9
8. Mr. Elystan Morgan

asked the Secretary of State for Wales if he will ask the Welsh Council to make a survey of housing needs in Wales.

Mr. Gibson-Watt

The Welsh Council is already studying housing in Wales.

Mr. Morgan

Does the hon. Gentleman accept that of all the functions exercised by the Welsh Office nothing is more crucial to the Welsh people than housing and that, unless the Government are willing to play a creative rôle by getting the necessary information, he is condemning the whole housing situation in Wales to all the crudities of the law of supply and demand? Will he consider this matter again?

Mr. Gibson-Watt

The Welsh Council is already considering housing in Wales. The main subjects which the Welsh Council is at present investigating are second homes, housing for special needs, slum clearance and the overall supply of housing.

Mr. John

Will the hon. Gentleman ask the Welsh Council to explain in its report how modernisation adds to the total housing stock in Wales?

Mr. Gibson-Watt

I should be surprised if any member of the Welsh Council, or indeed any hon. Member of this House, was unaware of the fact that what we are after is a better total supply of good homes for the Welsh people.

Mr. George Thomas

The Minister of State is too fond of trying to manipulate figures so that he hides rather than gives information. Is he aware that the total number of houses built for rent in Wales last year under the present Government was the lowest since the war?

Mr. Gibson-Watt

That comes a little strangely from the right hon. Gentleman since I well remember him standing at the Dispatch Box on the Government side in 1970 explaining why public sector housing was going down. The reason he gave was that the demand had gone down.

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