Welsh Affairs

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 4:47 pm on 2nd March 1987.

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Mr. Jones:

I can tell the hon. Gentleman that his health authority is screaming at the Government for more money. Instead of asking obscure questions, he should be fighting for more money to attack the problem of waiting lists. Male unemployment in Holyhead is more than 25 per cent. The Government should be doing something about that urgently, but I heard nothing from the Secretary of State that would help the hon. Member for Ynys MÔn (Mr. Best).

As ever, the Secretary of State responded to the housing problem by trying to put up a smokescreen on funding. In 1979–80, about £330 million was spent on housing. For 1986–87, only £154 million is under consideration, and the White Paper on public expenditure gives a figure for 1989–90 of only £132 million. Clearly that is not good enough. Against the background of claims for outstanding renovation grants totalling £55,000, it is disgraceful. Lately, figures were published showing that 66,000 homes in Wales are totally unfit for human habitation. Fifty five thousand homes lack a bath, shower or an inside lavatory. Over 150,000 are in serious disrepair. In fact, the summation must be that nearly 30 per cent. of private homes in Wales are inadequate for 20th century living. These figures and opinions stem from a politically impartial body, the environmental health officers in Wales. Private housing in Wales is in an appalling state. I heard the right hon. Gentleman say nothing today about how the Government will tackle the growing housing crisis.

A gloss was put on education again today, but the Government's successive cuts in the rate support grant have struck heavy blows to the school service in Wales.