HC Deb 06 July 1983 vol 45 c275
16. Mr. John Evans

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will increase the finance available to St. Helens borough council for house improvement grants.

Sir George Young

As I said to the previous hon. Member for St. Helens on 18 April, the Government have already taken steps to make additional capital resources available to cover spending on home improvement grants. Each local authority has been notified of an indicative figure for expenditure on improvement grants in 1983–84. Additional allocations will be available to any authority the expenditure of which on home improvement grants exceeds its indicative figure and the total housing capital expenditure of which exceeds its HIP allocation.

Mr. Evans

Does the Minister agree that his answer must be studied carefully as it does not seem to accord with the correspondence that he and I have had for some time? Is he aware that many hundreds of householders in St. Helens cannot obtain improvement grants because the local authority does not have enough money? Will he confirm that, at 73 per cent., the indicative figure for St. Helens is the highest of any metropolitan district, the average being 28 per cent.? Why is he treating St. Helens in such a peculiar way?

Sir George Young

We are not treating St. Helens in a peculiar way. Substantial resources are available to St. Helens in the form of £3 million of unapplied capital receipts and the capital receipts for this year. As this is a rather rarified subject, it would be best if I wrote to the hon. Gentleman after his local authority has had time to study what I have said.

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