HC Deb 15 June 1981 vol 6 cc721-2
10. Mr. Anderson

asked the Secretary of State for Wales if he is satisfied with the results of the Government's housing policies in Wales.

Mr. Wyn Roberts

I am satisfied that the Government's policies are correct; but it is much too early to have achieved all the results we want.

Mr. Anderson

Is the Minister aware of some of the results that he is achieving? Does he realise, for example, that starts in the public sector in the last quarter fell by over 50 per cent compared with the same quarter in 1980? Is he not getting the message from directors of housing and his counsellors that not only new builds, but rehabilitation and improvement grants are in decline and that homelessness is increasing substantially in the Principality? In the light of the results, how can he justify housing taking a disproportionate share of the cuts?

Mr. Roberts

The hon. Gentleman has been selective in his choice of figures. I grant that the halving of public sector starts as between one quarter and another corresponds with the halving of completions between 1975 and 1979. However, the hon. Gentleman forgot to tell the House that completions in the three months ending 30 April 1980 were 2,072, whereas completions in the three months ending 30 April 1981 increased to 2,282.

Mr. Best

Will my hon. Friend do more to encourage local authorities to take up the Government's excellent improvement for sale scheme and try to make further inroads into dealing with the problem of the 100,000 houses in Wales that are unfit in some material respect? Will he acknowledge that the Government have the schemes, and that it is for local authorities to implement them?

Mr. Roberts

We have reserved £1.5 million to provide pump priming for the improvement for sale operation. My hon. Friend will know that the Government have a seven-point low-cost home ownership plan that involves improvements of all sorts to existing properties.