HC Deb 23 July 1975 vol 896 cc540-1
14. Mr. Hooley

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what is the policy of Her Majesty's Government with regard to the maintenance of local authority housing standards.

Mr. Armstrong

The application of Parker Morris standards has enabled local authorities to produce good housing accommodation and I am anxious that this should continue. Save in certain circumstances, therefore—for example, where houses are being built specifically for sale, or where a local authority needs to use builders' designs to overcome temporary delays in its programme—I believe it right that the Parker Morris standards should be maintained.

Mr. Hooley

Is my hon. Friend aware that, in general, that is a welcome answer? Will he comment on the concern that has been aroused by Circular 24/75 and confirm that it does not express any intention of reducing standards or of slowing down the housing programme?

Mr. Armstrong

I am grateful to my hon. Friend for giving me the opportunity to confirm that the reference in Circular 24/75 to certain concessions is in no way a licence to reduce standards. We are determined to maintain the highest standards.

Mr. Steen

Will the Minister consider reviewing the Parker Morris standards so that local authorities are not bound by the minimum requirements of packing too many people into too little space? Will he also amend the standards so that when building new council estates local authorities include adequate play facilities per 1.000 houses, so that children have somewhere to play and vandalism is reduced?

Mr. Armstrong

We are anxious to maintain the highest standards. We have no general review in mind, although we keep all these matters in mind when considering our future housing programme.