HL Deb 05 February 1974 vol 349 cc769-70WA

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Why the Secretary of State for Scotland has told local authorities that new house improvement schemes will not be authorised before the end of March at the earliest, in view of the clear statement that housing expenditure would be exempt from the cuts announced in December, 1973.


My right honourable friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer announced in another place on December 17 that there was to be no reduction in investment in public sector house building. He did not say that expenditure on house improvement in the public sector was not to be restricted.

In the context of the necessary reduction of public expenditure, some easing of the volume of public sector house improvement seemed desirable. Improvement schemes in this field had increased at an unprecedented rate during the year, overstretching that section of the construction industry engaged on this work. Accordingly my right honourable friend announced that no further approvals would be given at least until the end of the financial year. The considerable volume of work already approved will continue to be carried out; and, as an exception to the general rule, any proposals for the improvement of houses acquired as a result of housing treatment area procedures or of any other houses which are below the tolerable standard will be considered and where appropriate approved during the period of suspension.