Housing Finance

Oral Answers to Questions — Wales – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 1st November 1976.

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Photo of Mr Wyn Roberts Mr Wyn Roberts , Conway 12:00 am, 1st November 1976

asked the Secretary of State for Wales when he proposes to issue a circular to housing authorities on the availability of central Government finance in 1977.

Photo of Mr Alec Jones Mr Alec Jones , Rhondda

The Council for the Principality has recommended local authorities to accept my proposal that each housing authority should for 1977–78 receive a block allocation to meet all capital housing requirements—new building, purchase of land, improvements to council houses and acquisition of existing properties. When the local authorities' views are fully known, I shall consider whether a further circular is necessary.

Photo of Mr Wyn Roberts Mr Wyn Roberts , Conway

I welcome the Minister's return to good health. May I ask him, however, to explain why housing is due to take the most savage cut of all when the spending on housing per capita in Wales is below the average for the United Kingdom and when we have such a stock of old housing to renew or replace?

Photo of Mr Alec Jones Mr Alec Jones , Rhondda

I am very grateful to the hon. Gentleman for his kind remarks to me. However, there has been no cut in Welsh new house-building provision for 1977–78. On the contrary, the White Paper provision was increased by some £20 million in July of this year.

Photo of Mr Dafydd Elis Thomas Mr Dafydd Elis Thomas , Merioneth

I, too, welcome the Minister back to the Dispatch Box. I also welcome the system of block alloca- tions which is now being introduced. On the other hand, I should like to ask the Minister on what formula these allocations to each of the districts in Wales will be based.

Photo of Mr Alec Jones Mr Alec Jones , Rhondda

I thank the hon. Gentleman in similar tones to those I expressed to the hon. Member for Conway (Mr. Roberts). I am glad that the hon. Gentleman welcomes our new proposals about the block allocations, which are designed to give greater flexibility to local housing authorities so that they can decide their own needs and how best to meet them. The criteria that we are using are those of population, the number of council houses, the past building record and the percentage of unfit houses. I know that some hon. Members, on all sides of the House, might have thought that we could have included waiting lists. Unfortunately, there is no common basis of compiling waiting lists and a comparison between the various districts would not, therefore, be possible.