§ 8. Mr. D. E. Thomas
asked the Secretary of State for Wales what proportion of total public expenditure in Wales on housing was allocated to housing associations in each year since 1979.
§ Mr. Wyn Roberts
The proportions are as follows: 1979–80, 9 per cent.; 1980–81, 10 per cent.; 1981–82, 14 per cent.; 1982–83, 19 per cent.; 1983–84, 15 per cent.; 1984–85, 18 per cent.
§ Mr. Thomas
Will the Minister confirm that the capacity of the housing association movement in Wales is about 6,000 units and that the reality is that on that level of funding the movement will be able to achieve 500 new builds and only about 1,000 rehabilitations? How does that accord with the Government's rehabilitation priorities?
§ Mr. Roberts
The hon. Gentleman will be aware of the considerable increase in spending by housing associations through the Housing Corporation over the years that I have mentioned. He is right in saying that in the current year the associations will build about 560 new houses and rehabilitate about 1,170 units. I dare say that they could do more and wanted to do more. However, the Government are firmly committed to restraining and reducting inflation, and it is vital that we should continue with reductions in public expenditure.
§ Mr. Roy Hughes
Does the hon. Gentleman agree that the housing associations provide a useful addition to public and private housing provision? If so, why are they being starved of funds by the Government? Are the Government more interested in providing Trident missiles, which could blow us all to smithereens, or in costly ventures in the Falkland Islands?
§ Mr. Roberts
I have just told the House that the allocation to the housing associations increased considerably during those years. The figure for 1979–80 was £20 million. This year the figure is £39.7 million. The addition of capital receipts means that the figure will increase to £41.5 million. The housing associations make a valuable contribution to the housing stock in Wales. We appreciate their contribution, because they cater for those with special housing needs.