Council Housing

Oral Answers to Questions — Wales – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 18th December 1972.

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Photo of Mr Ted Rowlands Mr Ted Rowlands , Merthyr Tydfil 12:00 am, 18th December 1972

asked the Secretary of State for Wales what measures he now intends to take to boost the level of council house building in Wales.

Photo of Mr David Gibson-Watt Mr David Gibson-Watt , Hereford

The new subsidy system concentrates resources on people and areas in need; special yardstick allowances were introduced last month; and the clearance of slums will, I hope, be speeded up as a result of the new special subsidy.

Photo of Mr Ted Rowlands Mr Ted Rowlands , Merthyr Tydfil

Is the Minister aware that 1972 will go down as the sorriest in council house building for many years and that the figures could be as low as any since the early 1960s? Is not the best thing to do to abolish the Housing Finance Act, which is creating great confusion and uncertainty, and establish a generous system for council house building in Wales?

Photo of Mr David Gibson-Watt Mr David Gibson-Watt , Hereford

The hon. Gentleman will be aware that there are other ways of building houses and that it is for the local authorities to determine their own needs. Officials of the Welsh Office will continue to give whatever help and encouragement is necessary.

Photo of Mr George Thomas Mr George Thomas , Cardiff West

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that only local authorities build houses to rent and that many thousands of families in Wales are waiting for a house? In view of the disastrous house building figures so far this year, will the hon. Gentleman show a greater sense of urgency and look into the matter again?

Photo of Mr David Gibson-Watt Mr David Gibson-Watt , Hereford

I cannot agree with the right hon. Gentleman. He says that the house building figures are bad this year, but taken as a whole they are not bad.

Photo of Mr Ted Rowlands Mr Ted Rowlands , Merthyr Tydfil

We are talking about council house building.

Photo of Mr David Gibson-Watt Mr David Gibson-Watt , Hereford

That was not what the hon. Gentleman said. If the figures as a whole are coupled with the great success of improvement grants, it will be seen that the housing position in Wales is much better than Opposition Members try to make out.

Photo of Mr Alec Jones Mr Alec Jones , Rhondda West

asked the Secretary of State for Wales what is his estimate of the number of houses to be completed in the public sector in Wales in the whole of 1972.

Photo of Mr Alec Jones Mr Alec Jones , Rhondda West

Is the Minister of State aware from that answer that there is a real slump in council house building which, coupled with the unprecedented rise in house prices, means that many thousands of young families in Wales will be many years without a home of their own? Apart from words, what practical steps will the Government take?

Photo of Mr David Gibson-Watt Mr David Gibson-Watt , Hereford

The hon. Gentleman was present during a recent debate in the early hours of the morning when this subject was dealt with. The new housing subsidies replacing the old outdated and indiscriminate system will concentrate financial help where it is most needed.