HC Deb 11 March 1981 vol 1000 cc872-3
9. Mr. Russell Johnston

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what requests he has made to local authorities in respect of the submission to him of authorities' housing budgets for 1981–82.

Mr. Rifkind

When local authorities were notified of their provisional capital allocations on 22 December they were asked to submit summaries of their housing revenue account budgets for 1981–82 so that final capital allocations could be determined in the light of budgeted rate fund contributions.

Mr. Johnston

Does the Minister think that the Government were sensible to ask local authorities for their housing budgets in mid-December, when the information that they needed to draw up their budgets was not available until 22 January? How many local authorities responded to the January deadline? Will he ensure that this sort of thing does not happen next year?

Mr. Rifkind

The link that the Government have introduced between rate fund contributions and capital allocations has resulted in a constructive response from local authorities. Thirty-one housing authorities will receive their maximum capital allocations because they have taken sensible rent decisions. Eleven authorities will receive something between the minimum and maximum allocations. Only 14 authorities will receive the minimum allocation because of their refusal to make a constructive response to rent decisions. Therefore, the Government's policy has worked extremely well.

Mr. Harry Ewing

Does the Minister agree that according to the White Paper on public expenditure, which was published yesterday, even if Scottish local authorities were to agree to accept the guidelines that were recently laid down by his right hon. Friend and himself, by 1983–84 capital expenditure on housing would fall by a further 34 per cent., or £245 million? Will the Minister quote the passage in the Tory Party manifesto that gave him a mandate to decimate local authority housing in Scotland in this way?

Mr. Rifkind

The hon. Gentleman might like to read the White Paper properly. If he does so he will see that it draws no distinction between capital and current expenditure in determining future expenditure on housing. As regards 1981–82, those local authorities that respond satisfactorily in terms of their decisions about their rate fund contributions will find that the aggregate of their capital allocations will be broadly equivalent to the sum that they receive for the current year.

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