HC Deb 26 July 1960 vol 627 cc123-4W
90. Mr. Cliffe

asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government and Minister for Welsh Affairs, in view of the recent increases in prices of land, what action he will take to assist local authorities to obtain land required in order to build houses for those in need of them in the vicinity of their working places.

91. Mr. Cliffe

asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government and Minister for Welsh Affairs (1) whether he is aware that, as a result of high land prices in London, residential rents are likely to rise beyond the means of persons requiring to be rehoused or tenants who would otherwise consider exchanging premises; and whether he will investigate the extent to which slum clearance programmes are being slowed down in consequence;

(2) whether he is aware that increasing land costs and the higher Bank Rate, with its higher interest costs, have resulted in increased housing rents or rate contributions; and whether, in order to lessen the burden of these charges, he will increase slum clearance subsidies and provide grants towards housing for general needs.

Mr. H. Brooke

Local authorities already receive substantial housing subsidies from the Exchequer. These include, in appropriate cases, specific assistance towards the cost of acquiring and laying out expensive sites. If local authorities use these subsidies to subsidise only those tenants who genuinely need help with their rents, and only to the extent of that need, they should, in general, be able to meet the costs of all the houses they own or need to build without having to charge unreasonably high rents or to incur an unreasonably heavy rate burden. To meet any exceptional cases, provision exists for the payment of a special subsidy at my discretion. I have no evidence that the rate of slum clearance in London is being affected by increases in the price of land.

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