Since this would be dependent on a number of as yet undetermined factors, no reliable estimate can be given. But if any such surplus does occur in 1976, I would not expect it to be significant.
Is the Minister aware that the Housing Finance Bill anticipates such a surplus in that it makes provision about what is to happen to such a surplus? How does he justify handing over the use of this surplus to the Department of the Environment? Will he explain why it is that the better-off tenants of local authorities will be expected to help the poorer tenants in private houses and local authority houses rather than the load be spread over the community as a whole?
I am sorry to say to the hon. Gentleman that I do not think he can have read the Bill. In answer to his question I would say that the undetermined factors to which I have referred include the level of fair rents, qualification for subsidy, the future house-building programme, and decisions by individual authorities on the future treatment of working balances.