HC Deb 07 May 1973 vol 856 cc7-8
6 Mr. Coleman

asked the Secretary of State for Wales what were the average prices in Wales of new and old houses, respectively, in June 1970; and what are the prices of such houses in April 1973.

Mr. Gibson-Watt

As I told the hon. Member for Rhondda, West (Mr. Alec Jones) on 9th April, the average price of a new house mortgaged with a building society in Wales during the 12 months ended June 1970 was £4,436, and a second-hand house £4,216. Comparable figures for the 12 month ending 31st December 1972, the latest available date, were £5,983 and £5,909. These figures are based on a 5 per cent, sample, which is too small for a reliable monthly figure.— [Vol. 854 c. 910–11.]

Mr. Coleman

The Minister's answer will be received with dismay outside the House, especially by young people. Is it not yet another example of the Prime Minister's giving the nation one of his famous "strokes"? Can the hon. Gentleman tell the House the cost to those who purchase council houses? Are they charged the market prices that the Minister has told us about, which now prevail as a result of the Government's inflationary policies?

Mr. Gibson-Watt

In 1972 about 5,500 building society mortgages were granted in Wales to applicants earning less than £30 a week. The hon. Gentleman should remember this when he advances that argument.

Mr. Cledwyn Hughes

On the assumption that a young couple have to borrow £5,000, which is related to the figures the Minister has just given, does he realise that repayment of capital and interest will amount to about £1,000 a year? Does he consider this reasonable in the circumstances, bearing in mind the average wage in Wales?

Mr. Gibson-Watt

There is still a demand. The right hon. Gentleman should remember that during the period when his Government were in office it would not have been possible for a young couple to borrow that money from the local authority on mortgage.

Mr. McBride

Is there not a new hindrance to private house building in Wales, in that the Welshman who wishes to construct his own house finds that the necessary materials bear value added tax? Is this not at once an injustice and a negation of what the Tories have always held to be commendable private enterprise?

Mr. Gibson-Watt

I understand that the hon. Gentleman has a Question down to my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer on the subject today.