HC Deb 06 February 1974 vol 868 c1203
11. Mr. Meacher

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will seek powers to assist local authorities in the rehabilitation of decaying local areas, in order to achieve effective competition with private property developers.

Mr. Eyre

My right hon. and learned Friend is seeking in the Housing and Planning Bill, which received its Second Reading yesterday, to provide local authorities with new powers and inducements, in addition to those which they already possess, for improving areas of substandard housing.

Mr. Meacher

Nevertheless, is the Minister aware that in the absence of specific property development aid local authorities are often forced to sell exceptionally valuable sites which later yield huge private profits which are not returned to the community? Is not the most glaring instance at this time the fate of 5,000 acres of London dockland? How will the hon. Gentleman ensure that in this and other large cities such inordinate profits are returned to the community?

Mr. Eyre

The hon. Gentleman is developing an innuendo which is misleading. In the great majority of cases local authorities are able to make use of land for dealing with their basic housing needs.