Orders of the Day — Rate Support Grant (Wales)

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 9:54 pm on 15th July 1987.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Mr Richard Livsey Mr Richard Livsey , Brecon and Radnor 9:54 pm, 15th July 1987

My hon. and learned Friend is correct. That is why there have been so many battles to keep certain schools open. It is the preferred option of those communities, some of which have grown in recent years. The school rolls have increased because people prefer to live in smaller communities.

Libraries cost Powys 15 per cent. more than the Welsh average. The Audit Commission's categories of local government expenditure bear no relationship to the sparsity of population in many parts of Wales.

Housing in Wales is crucial. For much of the day we have been discussing in the Welsh Grand Committee the poor housing stock in Wales. The Secretary of State should provide more houses to rent. He should also encourage housing associations to build more houses for key workers. Until the funds from the sale of council houses are released for the building of more houses, there will he insufficient houses to rent. We favour the sale of council houses to their occupants, but if insufficient houses to rent are being built there will be a housing crisis and long waiting lists. The Government must take that major factor into account.

I ask the Secretary of State to back the initiative of Powys, Dyfed and Gwynedd who have approached the European Community to obtain more funding and greater recognition of their plight because of sparsity of population. We suffer from under funding because we are not recognised as being eligible for grant aid. Intermediate development grant aid was taken from Powys in 1983. Therefore, that precludes us from financial assistance from the European Community—and is a source of funding that would assist us all round and, I believe, the Secretary of State, too.