HC Deb 16 March 1977 vol 928 cc385-6
13. Mr. Hannam

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment how many housing starts took place in (a) the public sector and (b) the private sector in Exeter in each of the years 1968 to 1976; and how many are proposed for 1977.

Mr. Armstrong

The figures for 1976 were 314 and 514 respectively. Those for earlier years appear in "Local Housing Statistics", copies of which are available in the Library. It has been agreed with Exeter City Council that it may start on 115 units during 1977.

Mr. Hannam

Does the Minister agree that the Government's housing policies are a total disaster in Devon and Cornwall, where unemployment in the construction industry has risen above 20 per cent.? Does he recall that in 1969, under the previous Labour Administration, only one major housing firm was left in existence in Exeter? Does he agree that the present policy of switching resources from what is already a stress area in the West Country to the so-called urban stress areas will mean that he finishes up with the same situation again?

Mr. Armstrong

The situation in the South-West is indeed serious. I have recently agreed to meet a deputation from the construction industry in Bristol. Exeter put in a bid for 115 houses. We have met that bid. We shall go on discussing with Exeter City Council its further needs.