Estate Action

Oral Answers to Questions — Environment – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 2nd November 1988.

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Photo of Mr Irvine Patnick Mr Irvine Patnick , Sheffield, Hallam 12:00 am, 2nd November 1988

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what was the level of Estate Action funding for the years 1987–88 and 1988–89, respectively.

Photo of Mr David Trippier Mr David Trippier , Rossendale and Darwen

The funding was £75 million in 1987–88 and £140 million in 1988–89.

My right hon. Friend announced yesterday a further substantial increase for next year of 36 per cent. That brings the total to £190 million.

Photo of Mr Irvine Patnick Mr Irvine Patnick , Sheffield, Hallam

I thank my hon. Friend for that response and, on behalf of Sheffield, for the £7 million that it received. This year we shall receive £6·8 million and, as an Oliver Twist, may I ask whether there will be any more please for next year? If so, how much?

Photo of Mr David Trippier Mr David Trippier , Rossendale and Darwen

I cannot answer the last question, because it is too early to say how the money will be allocated. My hon. Friend pointed out that Sheffield received 17 per cent. of the total regional allocation for Yorkshire and Humberside. From the increase announced by my right hon. Friends the Secretary of State for the Environment and the Chancellor of the Exchequer it is clear that there will be increased allocations on a regional basis. We shall consider carefully the application that Sheffield submits.

Photo of Mr Allan Roberts Mr Allan Roberts , Bootle

Will the Minister confirm that £190 million spread across the country is hardly a significant amount compared with the massive cuts in local authority housing investment programmes? Is not Estate Action funding a palliative? Small sums are given to local authorities to patch up poor estates which really need major surgery. They are palliatives that the Government have introduced to conceal the fact that they are not allowing local authorities to build new council houses.

Photo of Mr David Trippier Mr David Trippier , Rossendale and Darwen

The gross provision for capital expenditure on housing in 1989–90 will be £441 million, which is a 12 per cent. increase on what was previously planned. Why is it that the hon. Gentleman and his hon. Friends never take account of capital receipts and behave as if they did not exist? They choose to ignore capital receipts simply because they are not keen on the right-to-buy policy that draws in those receipts. The receipts are estimated to be about £3 billion, which is an impressive figure. Estate Action money is over and above that sum.