HC Deb 26 March 1979 vol 965 cc5-6
4. Sir Raymond Gower

asked the Secretary of State for Wales if he will state the latest available figures for houses and flats in course of construction in the Principality; and what is his estimate of the total number which will be completed during 1979.

Mr. Alec Jones

At the end of January 1979, 15,062 houses and 3,356 flats were reported to be under construction in Wales. It is not yet practicable to estimate accurately the total number which will be completed in Wales during 1979.

Sir R. Gower

Since the figures for house and flat building throughout the Government's term of office have been somewhat disappointing compared with the forecasts of Ministers when they were in opposition, can the Government do something to increase the funds available for house improvement, which is on a lower scale now than it was some years ago?

Mr. Alec Jones

Perhaps I should freshen the hon. Member's memory. The number of house completions in the last year for which the Conservative Government were responsible was 11,811. In the last two years each local authority in Wales has been given the money which it has requested for new house building and house improvement.

Mr. Wyn Roberts

Now that the Minister has received at least two reports from the working party set up to examine underspending on housing, is he satisfied that local authorities can spend the moneys allocated to them in the current year and in the coming financial year?

Mr. Alec Jones

We set up one committee of inquiry two years ago, which we turned into the Welsh housing consultative committee. It is advising us on all aspects of council housing in Wales. The indications are that there is a distinct possibility of underspending being avoided in the current financial year, but we must take into account that the abnormal weather in the last few months will have had some effect. There is no doubt that if there is any underspending it will be small compared with that in previous years.

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