HC Deb 19 July 1995 vol 263 c1666
22. Mr. Gordon Prentice

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment how many homes in Lancashire require major renovation to bring them up to acceptable standards. [33395]

Mr. Clappison

On the basis of the data from the most recent returns, it is estimated that 55,000 dwellings in Lancashire were statutorily unfit on 1 April 1994. However, more than a third of them could be made fit by the owners at relatively little expense.

Mr. Prentice

Does the Minister appreciate that 65 per cent. of the houses in my constituency were built before 1919 and more than 40 per cent. need improvement work in order to bring them to acceptable standards? Given that background, how can the Government propose, with a straight face, to do away with mandatory improvement grants and leave it to the discretion of local councils who do not have the cash or the resources to make any kind of impact?

Mr. Clappison

I am interested to hear the hon. Gentleman's comments, because I would have thought that local authorities would be able to take full advantage of the proposals in the White Paper and allocate resources where they were most needed through the new home repair grants and the disabled facilities grant. Home owners can take the opportunity to repair their homes, and they will be able to do so increasingly as a result of the prosperity that we are creating in Lancashire and elsewhere through sustainable economic growth.