§ 13. Mr. Coleman
asked the Secretary of State for Wales how many new houses in the public sector were completed during 1986 in each of the following boroughs: Neath. Lliu 581 Valley, Afan, Ognar, Taff Ely, Rhondda, Cynon Valley, Merthyr, Rhmney, Blaurau Gwent, IsIwyn and Tarfgaen; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Mark Robinson
The number of public sector completions in 1986 in the boroughs listed were 36, 48, 39, 40, 32, 12, 40, nil, 42, 38, 40 and 41 respectively.
§ Mr. Coleman
I compliment the officials at the Welsh Office on being able to interpret the rather remarkable spelling of some of the boroughs listed. Can the hon. Gentleman tell the House what those completions represent in money terms, as in the Grand Committee recently the Secretary of State referred to the very large resources being spent on housing in the valleys? Do not the figures given today for completions in the boroughs which form the valley communities shows a different picture from that which the Minister seeks to give?
§ Mr. Robinson
I am sure that my officials will welcome the kind comments that the hon. Gentleman has made about interpretation of the Order Paper. The hon. Gentleman is right to point out that expenditure on housing has increased and that housing allocations are up by 19 per cent. in the coming year. He will be aware that there is a serious problem with regard to older housing stock in the valleys. That is why we have launched our home improvement grant initiative. It is a matter of priorities and it is up to local authorities to decide how they should spend their allocations. Many of them have chosen to take advantage of the home improvement grant system.