HC Deb 08 December 1976 vol 922 cc430-1
3. Mr. Hodgson

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will make a statement on the progress made by the district auditors in assessing the size of rent loss certificates under the Housing Finance (Special Provisions) Act 1975.

The Under-Secretary of State for the Environment (Mr. Ernest Armstrong)

Twelve rent loss certificates have been issued in England for amounts totalling £594,187. I understand that no more certificates are expected.

Mr. Hodgson

Does the Minister accept that local people have the right to know who in their area is breaking the law? Will he authorise the publication of the names of those involved in the issue of rent loss certificates?

Mr. Armstrong

No, Sir. We have given the names of councils, and it is not our intention to give the names of the individuals. If the hon. Gentleman will read the debate on this subject, I am sure he will agree that we need to go no further than we have gone.

Mr. Skinner

Does my hon. Friend appreciate that 11 councillors at Clay Cross were repeatedly named for incurring losses arising out of the non-implementation of the Housing Finance Act, much more so than many other councillors involved in the non-implementation of the Act throughout the country? Why do those people in Clay Cross, who have been bankrupted and are being leaned on by the Official Receiver and thrown out of civic life, continue to be treated in that way by the Government when the names of the other 400 will not even be published?

Mr. Armstrong

My hon. Friend will recall that it was three years ago that the names were given. That was before legislation. Since legislation, we have decided not to publish individual names.