HC Deb 23 April 1986 vol 96 c295
15. Mr. Dormand

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will identify separate housing investment allocations for works to new town dwellings; and if he will make a statement.

Sir George Young

No; separate allocations of this kind would deny the councils in question the freedom to decide their own priorities in the use of the total amounts of housing investment resources which can be made available to them.

Mr. Dormand

Is the Minister aware of the serious situation facing some towns, not least Peterlee, in my own constituency? In view of the answers that he has given, may I assure him that Peterlee would be prepared to sacrifice some of the freedom to which he referred if it could get a few more million pounds? How can the Government honour their commitment to new towns without having separate identifiable allocations within the housing investment programme? Will he say how Easington district council can meet the £40 million repairs needed in Peterlee with the allocation of £7.5 million that is being granted by the Government?

Sir George Young

I well remember the issues, because I negotiated the memorandum with the local authorities concerned. The memorandum said that local authorities should draw the attention of my Department to the bid for the expenditure on remedial work which had been accepted for grants, so that in its turn the Department could ensure that those needs were reflected in the allocations. For the year 1986–87 we took account of the expenditure implications facing the hon. Gentleman's local authority regarding the stock that it inherited from new towns. I cannot see how separate identification could make the problem any easier. The local authority has flexibility already, if it wishes to supplement its resources, to spend more on the new town dwellings. I have sympathy with the problem, and I will see whether I can help in the forthcoming negotiations for next year's allocations.