HC Deb 11 November 1970 vol 806 cc168-9W
36 and 37. Mr. Arthur Lewis

asked the Minister for the Civil Service (1) whether, in his legislative proposals to ensure that taxpayers who draw subsidies for housing whilst they are able to afford to pay the economic rents, pay the market rent, he will arrange that Ministers of the Crown who receive 100 per cent. subsidies and charge rent for their private properties have off-set against their subsidies the rents which accrue due to having ministerial residences;

(2) whether he is aware that, in addition to having the use of accommodation and services costing as much as £2,650 per annum, Ministers are allowed to let off their private residences; and whether he will introduce legislation to claim back these amounts from Ministers;

(3) whether, in his proposals to deal with housing and subsidies and fair rents, he will end the situation whereby Ministers receive 100 per cent. subsidies on the cost of their rents, rates and service charges, and ensure that such Ministers are charged an economic rent for their properties on a rebate system, similar to that as proposed for council rents.

Mr. David Howell

No. There is a long-standing convention that no contributions should be required of Ministers in respect of official residential accommodation which is allocated because of their public duties and not their private needs. It would in any case be impossible to assess a realistic rental for this type of accommodation.