Mr David Gibson-Watt: The peanuts to which the hon. Gentleman refers will cost the nation £10 million.
Mr David Gibson-Watt: I can see no particular reason why Questions Nos. 6 and 7 should be linked together. All I would comment is that the rate support grant settlement which the Government have just decided on has provided more assistance to local authorities than ever before. It has also given greater help to domestic ratepayers.
Mr David Gibson-Watt: I refer the hon. Member to my reply of 5th February to the hon. Member for Aberdare (Mr. Probert). —[Vol. 850, c. 14–15.]
Mr David Gibson-Watt: I recognise the problem but the release of more land for building should help to stablise prices. Since November 1971 well over 1,000 acres in pressure areas of South-East Wales have been released for housing after examination of the sites by the Welsh Office. A further large site at Thornhill should be available shortly.
Mr David Gibson-Watt: Financial assistance by way of Government grants is available to local authorities for the acquisition, clearance and after treatment of derelict land. The rate of grant is 85 per cent. in the development area and 75 per cent. in the intermediate area.
Mr David Gibson-Watt: I am aware that that part of South Wales in the hon. Gentleman's constituency has had to bear a considerable amount of opencast working. My officials in the Derelict Land Unit are always ready and willing to provide local authorities with expert advice in preparing schemes, and this one is no exception.
Mr David Gibson-Watt: That is a wide question and I remind the hon. Gentleman that the 15 per cent. is not wholly borne by the local ratepayers.
Mr David Gibson-Watt: I agree that both Operation Eyesore and derelict land reclamation are matters of great importance. I will look at the question of finance.
Mr David Gibson-Watt: I am ready to discuss this matter with the Cardiff City Council, which is the authority responsible for the present access roads to the University Hospital.
Mr David Gibson-Watt: I accept that there is inconvenience to residents but I would not accept that access to the hospital is delayed at the present time. I should be more than prepared to meet the city council again if it so wished.
Mr David Gibson-Watt: Over £2 million for the year ending 31st March next.
Mr David Gibson-Watt: I do not accept that the figure is woefully inadequate, but if the hon. Gentleman will let me know of any particular instances of hotel proprietors in his constituency who have particular problems, I will put them to the tourist board.
Mr David Gibson-Watt: The figure then was woefully inadequate. It was £314,000 outturn compared with an estimate for next year of £2,950,000.
Mr David Gibson-Watt: No. The combination of selective employment tax, brought in by the Labour Government, and of purchase tax was far more unpopular than value added tax.
Mr David Gibson-Watt: I do not disagree when my hon. Friend says that the tourist industry is of the greatest importance to Wales, but I repeat that the funds coming from the Government are very encouraging.
Mr David Gibson-Watt: If the right hon. Gentleman wants the full truth of tourism as it was under his administration, I must remind him of the fact that the overdraft of the Welsh Tourist Board had to be secured by the chairman of the tourist board himself, not the Government.
Mr David Gibson-Watt: This information is not at present available but the Welsh Office, in co-operation with local authorities, is making a full survey of all waste disposal sites, including those where toxic chemicals may have been deposited. I hope the results of this survey will be available later this year.
Mr David Gibson-Watt: I am well aware of the hon. Gentleman's concern. I can assure him that my right hon. Friend and I are equally concerned about the case he has raised and the matter in general.
Mr David Gibson-Watt: The Welsh Hospital Board does not allocate capital funds on a county basis, and I regret that details of capital expenditure by individual counties in Wales in the past five years are not readily available.
Mr David Gibson-Watt: I am aware that the hon. and learned Gentleman and others believe that to be so. In a speech I made two weekends ago, I sought to dispel any such impression. If the hon. and learned Gentleman has a question to raise about particular hospitals, I shall look into the expenditure on them if he will get in touch with me.