asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what is his estimate, on a percentage basis, of the number of tenants in local authority housing who will pay increased rents, when the Housing (Financial Provisions) (Scotland) Bill becomes law.
If the hon. Gentleman is unable to assess accurately this part of the Bill, how can any credence be attached to the subsidy provisions? Is it not correct to say that the high cost of rent rebates will take a high proportion of the money from tenants and not from the ratepayers and taxpayers, with the Government getting some of the money into the bargain?
I am not sure that I follow that point. The position under the new Bill will be that those who face rent increases they cannot reasonably afford will be assisted by the generous rent rebate scheme, the major part of the cost of which will be paid by the Government and not by the ratepayer or the individual. This is a fair system which will ensure that there is no hardship.
Does not the hon. Gentleman agree that local authorities like Glasgow will face administrative costs in introducing this subsidy? Will he reconsider and give help to local authorities like Glasgow in administering the subsidy?
I appreciate what the hon. Gentleman has said but Glasgow already runs a rent rebate scheme of which it pays the entire cost of administration as well as the whole cost of the rent rebates. In future the Government will pay most of the cost of the rent rebates. The cost of administering the allowances will come from Government subsidy.