HC Deb 23 October 1973 vol 861 cc973-4
Q5. Mr. Sydney Chapman

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

The Prime Minister

I have at present no plans to do so, Sir.

Mr. Chapman

I recognise that extra resources have been poured into inner city areas, including part of my constituency, but does not my right hon. Friend consider that there is need for a special Minister with sole responsibility to coordinate the funds in those areas and help tackle their severe and special housing, education and local health and social services problems?

The Prime Minister

Yes, Sir; I have given the Home Secretary special responsibility for the co-ordination of work on help for areas of urban deprivation, so there is now a very senior member of the Cabinet who is responsible for the co-ordination for which my hon. Friend asks. As regards the environment, the total approach for which my hon. Friend has asked is being carried out in the study of six town and inner city centres, and Birmingham is one of these.

Mr. John Fraser

Does the Prime Minister realise that we can never tackle problems of urban deprivation when we have the worst housing figures for a decade?

The Prime Minister

I cannot accept the hon. Gentleman's allegation. In fact, this Government have designed their housing policy in order particularly to help the deprived areas.