HC Deb 22 November 1973 vol 864 cc1546-7
Q2. Mr. John Fraser

asked the Prime Minister if he will pay an official visit to Lambeth.

The Prime Minister

I have at present no plans to do so.

Mr. Fraser

If the right hon. Gentleman is not visiting Lambeth, will he acquaint himself with the dimensions of the housing crisis there? Is he aware that we have in Lambeth 15,000 families living like permanent refugees in their own borough? Has not the Prime Minister learnt that the problems of stress areas like Lambeth are quite insoluble within their own boundaries, that we need to build dwellings outside those boundaries and that improvement grants do not help? Why have the Government retrospectively cut reckonable expenditure on the maintenance of council dwellings, which leads in turn to an actual cut in housing subsidies?

The Prime Minister

I am aware of the problems which Lambeth has been experiencing. As the hon. Gentleman will know, they are under discussion with the Department of the Environment. The particular problems have been in tendering, but I am told that half the current year's programme has already been approved.

Mr. John Wells

Will my right hon. Friend change his mind about paying an official visit to Lambeth, go there as soon as possible, call on the Archbishop and explain why the Government are not providing heat in churches on Sundays?

The Prime Minister

I lunched with the Archbishop a week ago but he did not ask that question.