HC Deb 09 November 1977 vol 938 cc121-2W
Dr. Edmund Marshall

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what allocation has been made between departmental programmes of the £400 million additional expenditure on construction for 1978–79 announced by the Chancellor of the Exchequer on 26th October ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Shore:

The additional expenditure will be divided between Departmental programmes as shown in the following table.

These increases will halt the decline in Departmental construction programmes and will give scope for modest increases in some sectors in 1978–9. Further increases in construction expenditure over existing plans totalling some £181 million will be made in 1979–80. This will keep these programmes at a steady level, and should produce greater stability for the industry. Most of the increases will affect the building sector, but civil engineering will also benefit from the increased expenditure on roads and some of the other environmental services.

A large part of the expenditure will be undertaken by local authorities. The Department concerned will be working out the allocation of the sum prescribed to individual local authorities in accordance with normal procedures.

In England housing will receive about half of the money available. This will enable housing authorities and housing associations to restore some of the cuts that had to be made in 1976, and put the housing capital programme back onto a rising trend.

The additional expenditure on other environmental services will include £5million for the British Waterways Board to undertake urgent repair and main- tenance work and a further £4 million for the urban programme. In order to assist the construction industry I have also decided not to introduce any scheme for imposing fees for building regulation aplications in 1978–9. This will however mean that local authorities in England and Wales will forgo an estimated £13 million in revenue in that year, and I shall therefore be allowing local authorrities an additional £13 million out of the £400 million to count as relevant expenditure for the purposes of the rate support grant settlement which I shall be making shortly.

The following is the table:

£million at 1977Survey Prices
Defence 8.0
Agriculture, fisheries, food and forestry2 0.3
Employment1 1.0
Energy1 0.7
Trade1 8.0
Transport3 23.0
Housing3 150.0
Other Environmental Services3 33.5
Home Office Services2 5.0
Lord Chancellor's Department Services2 3.0
Education3 26.0
Health and Personal Services3 37.0
Property Services Agency1 3.5
Other public services1 1.0

Programmes within the responsibilities of the Secretaries of State for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will receive £76 million. £24 million is still unallocated and available for other purposes. Further announcements will be made in due course.

1Great Britain Programme.

2England and Wales Programme.

3England programme.