Home Improvement Grants

Oral Answers to Questions — Wales – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 19th November 1984.

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Photo of Mr Keith Best Mr Keith Best , Ynys Môn 12:00 am, 19th November 1984

asked the Secretary of State for Wales if he will give the amount in constant prices spent on home improvement grants during (a) the last year for which figures are available and (b) 1978–79.

Photo of Mr Wyn Roberts Mr Wyn Roberts , Conwy

Spending by district councils in Wales on all forms of house renovation grant in 1978–79 amounted to £18·1 million. The provisional total for 1983–84 is £114·5 million. Both sums have been revalued to 1984–85 prices.

Photo of Mr Keith Best Mr Keith Best , Ynys Môn

Does my hon. Friend agree that the best way to deal with the poor housing stock in Wales is through improvement grants, so long as those grants are given to those most in need? Does he accept that the almost tenfold increase in expenditure by the Government over that of the Labour Government in their last year of office demonstrates the Government's commitment to doing precisely that, and that any criticism from the Labour party is pure humbug?

Photo of Mr Wyn Roberts Mr Wyn Roberts , Conwy

I agree with my hon. Friend's last remark, and with the fact that the Government have spent considerably more than the Labour Government did on the improvement of houses in Wales. There is no doubt that our housing stock must be improved. We are likely to spend about £81 million on grants this year.

Photo of Mr Donald Coleman Mr Donald Coleman , Neath

Does the Minister not understand that although the suggestion of his hon. Friend the Member for Ynys Môn (Mr. Best) will improve the quality of housing, it will do nothing for those who do not have homes? What about investment in new housing?

Photo of Mr Wyn Roberts Mr Wyn Roberts , Conwy

The proportion of the total money allocated to be spent on improvement grants, new build and improving their own houses is entirely a matter for the local authorities. As well as the £81 million spent on grants, the local authorities in Wales will this year spend £34 million on new building and £44 million on improving their own council houses.