Mr David Gibson-Watt: I agree that that is highly important, and I am glad that the hon. Gentleman joins me in congratulating the local authorities and the derelict land unit of the Welsh Office on what they are doing under the present Government's policy. I do not know where the hon. Gentleman has got his rumour from. He would do well to wait for the meeting which is taking place today between the Monmouthshire...
Mr David Gibson-Watt: I can well remember visiting the Lower Swansea Valley as the first visit that I undertook as a Minister in this sphere. Although I cannot promise a 100 per cent grant, the hon. Gentleman will be aware of the very high grant that comes from Government aid.
Mr David Gibson-Watt: Up to 30th September, 1972, 20,952.
Mr David Gibson-Watt: As the hon. Gentleman understands, the value added tax is a matter for my right hon. Friend the Chancellor, who I am sure will note what he says. I can only repeat that I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for giving greater publicity to the success of this aspect of the Government's policy.
Mr David Gibson-Watt: My right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State for the Environment and I keep the problems of residential caravan dwellers generally under constant review.
Mr David Gibson-Watt: I do not think that the last part of that question is worth a reply. The National Federation of Site Operators and the National Mobile Homes Residents Association are in the process of drawing up a mutually acceptable model site agreement and the Government are in touch with the parties.
Mr David Gibson-Watt: I take the point. The Caravan Sites Act, 1968, gives some protection. We take the view that new legislation would be likely to dry up the supply of new sites and would not be in the long-term interests of caravan residents, but I will certainly continue to look at the matter.
Mr David Gibson-Watt: Four hon. Members have written about the circumstances of the residents. I have also received representations from other sources. As my hon. Friend knows, court proceedings are pending and, therefore, I can make no comment on the situation until they are concluded.
Mr David Gibson-Watt: The Cardiff Rural District Council is empowered under Section 24 of the Caravan Sites and Control of Development Act, 1960, to provide sites for permanent caravan dwellers, and compulsory powers are available to it. It also has powers as a housing authority.
Mr David Gibson-Watt: The general medical practitioners have withdrawn from the scheme for a health centre which was approved last April. I understand that a local meeting is now being arranged to discuss the position.
Mr David Gibson-Watt: Without commenting on some of the remarks of the hon. Gentleman, I would say that it is my policy to encourage health centre development. No pressure can be brought upon general medical practitioners to make them practise from such centres.
Mr David Gibson-Watt: Arrangements have been made to hold a public inquiry on 27th March, 1973, into the Llanelli Rural District Council's application to my right hon. and learned Friend for the confirmation of the Llanelli Rural (Pembrey Country Park) Compulsory Purchase Order, 1972.
Mr David Gibson-Watt: An earlier inquiry in 1970 was concerned solely with the proposed use of the land in the Pembrey area by the Ministry of Defence. As to the suspicions to which the hon. Member refers, I would be prepared to talk to him personally about these, although I cannot add anything at the moment and would not support his anxieties.
Mr David Gibson-Watt: There are about 528,000 owner-occupied houses in Wales, any one of which might become available for sale. There are no financial restrictions on local authority mortgage lending and I am not aware of any difficulties in the private sector.
Mr David Gibson-Watt: I would remind the hon. Gentleman that the position with regard to financial restrictions on local authority mortgages has been greatly improved under the present Administration. That is a point he should recognise.
Mr David Gibson-Watt: The Welsh Hospital Board will consider the Report of the Working Party on Children in Hospital in Wales at its meeting on 8th November. The interim report was circulated to hospital management committees, their staffs and other interested organisations as a discussion document. The observations made on it have been taken into account in the preparation of the final report.
Mr David Gibson-Watt: I agree that the matter is urgent. I welcome the board's initiative in setting up the inquiry and I look forward to receiving in due course its advice on the report's recommendations.
Mr David Gibson-Watt: All matters relating to help for disabled persons are treated with particular sympathy, but I see no necessity to amend the departmental procedures to which the hon. Gentleman refers.
Mr David Gibson-Watt: If the hon. Gentleman is referring to a case on which he and I have had correspondence, I would point out to him that we have consistently shown our desire to help his constituent by exceptionally agreeing to the sale. The price agreed upon was generous and the gentleman concerned has expressed his appreciation in a letter dated 25th October.
Mr David Gibson-Watt: I assume that the hon. Member refers to the consultative document on forestry policy issued by the Government in June. Consultations on this are still in progress and all the implications for Wales will be taken fully into account before decisions are reached.