HC Deb 03 February 1970 vol 795 cc86-7W
Mr. Arthur Lewis

asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government (1) why it took him as long as it did to increase the 40 per cent. to 50 per cent. grant towards the costs of strengthening tower blocks; and why this 50 per cent. grant was not offered in the first instance;

(2) what new circumstances arose between the date when he decided that local authorities should pay 60 per cent. towards the cost of strengthening tower blocks and his revised amount of 50 per cent.; whether the latter figure was agreed by the local authorities without reservation; and whether he will make a further statement.

Mr. Greenwood

I would refer my hon. Friend to the answer I gave today in reply to his Question and Questions by the hon. Members for Swindon (Mr. Christopher Ward) and Walthamstow, West (Mr. Silvester) on the same subject.

Mr. Arthur Lewis

asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government whether he will give an assurance that the safety regulations recommended to local authorities for strengthening tower blocks will ensure complete safety against all hazards; whether he is satisfied the local authorities are able to meet the 50 per cent. cost involved in carrying out these regulations; and what action he will take against an authority refusing to implement such regulations because of inability to meet the costs involved.

Mr. Freeson

The standards in Circular 62/68 which dealt with the appraisal and strengthening of existing high blocks were based on the best professional advice available. I do not believe any authority would be so indifferent to the safety of its tenants as to ignore this circular or be unable to meet 50 per cent. of the cost of this work.