HC Deb 04 June 1980 vol 985 cc1423-4
30. Mr. Hooley

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will make arrangements to transfer unused or under-used allocations within the housing investment programme from authorities which do not wish to spend to those which have pressing housing needs.

Mr. Stanley

To date, I am not aware of authorities whose allocations are likely to be significantly under-used in the current financial year.

Mr. Hooley

In the event of the diminishing number of Tory-controlled local authorities being unwilling, or unlikely, to spend the money that has been allocated, can the Minister assure the House that there will be a system for transferring surplus funds that might arise in that way to Labour-controlled authorities, such as Sheffield, which is willing and anxious to build up its public and private housing stock?

Mr. Stanley

Just before the last election the Sheffield council wrote to the last Government to say that its HIP allocation was too high. If there is a repetition of that this financial year obviously we shall consider how to deploy the funds.

Mr. Frank Allaun

Is the Minister aware that many cities with housing stress, such as Salford, used the whole of their allocations last year? Does the Minister accept my hon. Friend's proposal that authorities which make a further cut beyond that which the Government require should provide some of the extra money for housing stress areas? Is not that a sensible suggestion?

Mr. Stanley

I must ask the hon. Gentleman to examine another alternative. He should take seriously the arrangements that we have made to enable local authorities to increase their HIP allocations if they realise housing capital receipts by the sale of council houses. It the hon. Gentleman supported that policy in Salford, its HIP allocation would go much further.