Mr. Eddie Griffiths
asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government if he will send a circular to local authorities, recommending that those who have already increased their council house rents substantially according to the National Board for Prices and Incomes report, should subject any further increases to the same criteria applying to wages, namely three-and-a-half per cent. per annum.
§ Mr. Greenwood
Council house rents are not precisely comparable with wages but there is a similar need for moderation in present circumstances. If the Prices and Incomes Bill becomes law proposals for increases in council house rents will need my approval and I shall take all the relevant factors into account.
In addition, I have asked authorities who have recently imposed large increases to review them and I am now considering proposals for adjustments from a number of authorities, including Sheffield. My object is to avoid unnecessary rent increases and, where increases are unavoidable to phase and moderate them.
§ Mr. Christopher Price
asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government if he will refer the proposed increase in Birmingham council house rents to the National Board for Prices and Incomes.
§ Mr. Greenwood
No. The powers which Housing Ministers would be given under the Prices and Incomes Bill would enable me to give directions to local authorities proposing increases in council house rents. Authorities have meanwhile been asked to co-operate on a voluntary basis. I am at present in touch200W with Birmingham County Borough Council about contemplated rent increases.