HC Deb 14 February 1973 vol 850 cc338-9W
50. Mr. Milne

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will introduce legislation to allow applicants for improvement and discretionary grants who occupy the houses mentioned in the application to have priority over property developers and speculators; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Channon

The Government wish to improve the houses of people living in the worst conditions, which are generally found in the privately-rented sector. As for speculation, local authorities have powers to refuse to make improvement grants if they consider that grants are being sought solely to add to the profitability of an improvement which would be undertaken even without a grant.

61. Dame Irene Ward

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what action he will take to extend the time limit for the taking up of improvement grants in cases where builders are not available to meet commitments.

Mr. Channon

No action by my right hon. and learned Friend is necessary. Although local authorities can require improvement works to be carried out within a period of 12 months as a condition of paying the grant, they can allow such further time as they consider necessary.

63. Mr. Blenkinsop

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he will review the conditions he imposes on the granting of discretionary improvement grants by local authorities in view of the increase in charges by builders over the previous 12 months.

Mr. Channon

Fresh legislation would be needed to enable a local authority to revise the amount of a grant to take account of rising costs after the grant has been approved. I am considering this point in my review of improvement grant policy.