§ Mr. Crowther
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment (1) whether he has studied the recent memorandum submitted to him by the Environmental Health Association on the subject of improvement grants; and if he will make a statement;
(2) if he will exclude private sector housing improvements from the housing investment programme allocations and issue separate allocations for this purpose.
§ Mr. Geoffrey Finsberg
I have studied the association's memorandum. It would be a retrograde step to subdivide the housing investment programme allocation so as to provide a separate allocation for pivate sector improvement grants. Local authorities are in the best position to decide the priority which should be given to different kinds of housing investment. The main reason why some local authorities have apparently restricted improvement grants in 1980–81 is that their resources have been largely pre-empted by contractual commitments entered into under the unrealistic public expenditure plans of the previous Administration.