§ Mr. McMahon
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland how much income from council houses in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Dundee and Aberdeen has been lost through the more recent rent increases and the inability of tenants to pay; how much interest is being paid on loans for council house building in each of these cities; and if he is now prepared to put a freeze on council house rents in view of the hardship suffered by many as a result of this economic strategy.
§ Mr. Rifkind
I am not aware of any evidence of an increase in the level of rent arrears likely to be written off as irrecoverable by any of the local authorities to which the hon. Member refers. I do not think it reasonable to 119W suggest that the rent increases made earlier this year should be regarded as having produced a loss of income to these or other authorities.
Estimated interest and loans fund expenses falling in 1981–82 on the revenue account of the four authorities are as follows:
£ Aberdeen 17,910,000 Edinburgh 22,136,880 Glasgow 77,780,000 Dundee 13,538,100
Source: Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy Rating Review.
The information available does not enable me to distinguish between costs related to new construction and costs related to other housing activities—modernisation, improvements, hostels and so on.
The Government's views about the reasonable level of average council house rents in 1982–83 will be made known in due course.