HC Deb 18 March 1974 vol 870 cc646-7
9. Mr. Tom Ellis

asked the Secretary of State for Wales if he will seek powers to extend beyond 22nd June 1974 the period when a grant of 75 per cent. of cost up to a total of £1,500 may be paid by local authorities for improving residential property in Wales.

17. Mr. Cledwyn Hughes

asked the Secretary of State for Wales if he will extend the period of payment of improvement grants at the higher rate of 75 per cent. by 12 months.

Mr. John Morris

This issue is one among many housing issues inherited from the previous administration. I am reviewing them all in collaboration with my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Environment.

Mr. Ellis

Is my right hon. and learned Friend aware that some of my constituents who have entered into agreements under the present grant arrangements are now, through no fault of their own but because of shortage of building supplies, and so on, likely to face a serious pecuniary shortfall if something is not done? Will he look sympathetically into this matter?

Mr. Morris

I am aware of the problem in my hon. Friend's area. Together with 15 other Members of Parliament, including myself—and, as I recall, representatives of 32 local authorities—he met representatives of the last Government. I am very much concerned about the problem that has arisen in many areas through a shortage of builders. I ask my hon. Friend to give us a little time to consider the matter fully, in collaboration with the other Departments concerned.

Mr. D. E. Thomas

Is the Secretary of State aware of the misuse of improvement grants in large parts of rural Wales, where these grants have constantly been used for the improvement of properties not intended or used for permanent occupation? Will he make a statement on this matter in the near future?

Mr. Morris

Yes, Sir.