§ Mr. Arthur Davidson
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he can now announce a decision on the extension of the period for the 75 per cent. improvement grants.
§ Mr. Crosland
The Government are very much aware of the adverse effect on grant applicants in the development and intermediate areas of the recent difficulties experienced by the building industry, particularly the three-day week. These have led to delay in completing works of grant-aided improvement by the deadline of 22nd June 1974 laid down in the Housing Act 1971 as amended by the Housing (Amendment) Act 1973. The Government propose to allow those 441W private owners in development and intermediate areas whose applications for grant were approved at a preferential rate on or before 30th September 1973 to receive grant at those higher rates notwithstanding that the work is completed after 22nd June 1974. The necessary amendment will he put down to the Housing Bill. The Government accept, however, the view of the Expenditure Committee in its Tenth Report on House Improvement Grants that no further extension of the availability of preferential rates of grant in the development and intermediate areas on the basis provided by the Housing Act 1971 is justified. Instead, the provisions proposed in the Housing Bill will direct extra help more positively to those people in greatest housing need.