HC Deb 10 June 1981 vol 6 c400
15. Mr. Eastham

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment how many local authorities are now no longer offering discretionary home improvement grants.

Mr. Geoffrey Finsberg

Figures available to my Department suggest that about 40 authorities—11 per cent. of the total—are not offering discretionary grants at present.

Mr. Eastham

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that 1 million families are living in houses that are unfit for habitation and that 1.5 million families live in houses that lack basic amenities? In addition, the Government's building record is deplorable. Is the hon. Gentleman aware of the recent statement of the Environmental Health Officers Association to the effect that houses that are being built now will have to last 400 years unless the Minister takes urgent action?

Mr. Finsberg

I have read the paper. People hold differing views and I do not happen to share that of the hon. Gentleman.

Mr. Jessel

If a man wants to improve his house, why should he expect his fellow ratepayers to pay for part of the cost?

Mr. Finsberg

Parliament has made the availability of grants possible. It is up to individuals to decide whether they want to make use of the legislation.