Oral Answers to Questions — Council Rents

– in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 7th May 1975.

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Photo of Hon. Douglas Hurd Hon. Douglas Hurd , Oxon Mid 12:00 am, 7th May 1975

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what will be the average increase in council rents as a result of the cut of £65 million in housing subsidies announced in the Budget.

Photo of Mr Reginald Freeson Mr Reginald Freeson , Brent East

This will be a matter for detailed discussions between the Government and the local authority associations. £65 million saving at 1974 survey prices spread over the country's 5½ million council dwellings would average £13 per dwelling per year; but rate fund contributions to housing revenue accounts and other factors vary so enormously that such a figure is not meaningful. Apart from this, rent increases will need to meet rising costs.

Photo of Hon. Douglas Hurd Hon. Douglas Hurd , Oxon Mid

Now that the Secretary of State is at last committed to achieving more realistic council rents, will the Minister explain why he prefers to do this by exhortation and manipulating the rate support grant rather than an open and above-board system of fair rents?

Photo of Mr Reginald Freeson Mr Reginald Freeson , Brent East

I do not quite follow the hon. Gentleman's point. However, the matter falls to be discussed in much detail, as I have indicated, with the local authorities and with the local authority associations.