Mr David Gibson-Watt: Approvals in the public sector are more encouraging, and no doubt if I were to look at the figures in the constituency of the hon. Member for Bedwellty (Mr. Kinnock) they would be equally encouraging.
Mr David Gibson-Watt: The hon. Gentleman refers to a figure of 20,000. I remind him that in 1970, when the Labour Government left office, the number of houses under construction in both the public and the private sectors was 16,609 and that for the first nine months of this year the figure was 20,733. He should read the figures.
Mr David Gibson-Watt: The report of the interdepartmental working party is being published today and copies are being placed in the Library together with the report of a cost-benefit study by the Department of Economics, University College, Cardiff, which was commissioned by the working party. My right hon. and learned Friends have accepted the working party's recommendation that an official of the Welsh Office...
Mr David Gibson-Watt: The hon. Gentleman raises a lot of questions. First of all, I am not responsible for Press reports. Secondly, when the hon. Gentleman has read the report of the working party—the first report on this subject ever made under any Government—into this most important question, and when he has also read the cost-benefit analysis prepared by University College, Cardiff, he will get a good idea...
Mr David Gibson-Watt: I could not pass an opinion as to how many goats there are in the hon. Gentleman's constituency. He and his hon. Friends and many outside organisations who have made representations to the Government on this important question should read the reports. They will find something in them which is extremely helpful to local authorities.
Mr David Gibson-Watt: Further to that point of order. I agree with some of the points the hon. Member made about commons registration, but—
Mr David Gibson-Watt: The Welsh Office awaits further information from Flint Borough Council before determining a preliminary yardstick application for 46 houses in the first phase of the Bagillt redevelopment. I understand that the council is reapplying for planning permission. The council has been given approval in principle for environmental improvements on an area in West Bagillt comprising 225 houses.
Mr David Gibson-Watt: This matter is not being held up by the Welsh Office in any way if there are any points additional to those raised in the hon. Member's letter to my right hon. and learned Friend, we will certainly look into them.
Mr David Gibson-Watt: My right hon. and learned Friend has received none. The Welsh Hospital Board is now obtaining the views of the public before submitting proposals to the Welsh Office.
Mr David Gibson-Watt: I understand the hon. Gentleman's feelings about this problem and I am sure that the Welsh Hospital Board will look at the problem as sympathetically as possible.
Mr David Gibson-Watt: I cannot add to what I have said to the hon. Member for Pontypool (Mr. Abse). I certainly understand his problem. I am sympathetic and I am sure that the Welsh Hospital Board is too.
Mr David Gibson-Watt: Engineers from the Welsh Office have been in constant touch with the Eryri Water Board to monitor the position in this area and give advice as necessary.
Mr David Gibson-Watt: I accept what the right hon. Gentleman says, that this is a very severe problem in the parish of Llanwnda. I am sure that what he has said will be read and registered by the water board itself. I cannot say that I am yet convinced that there is a need for an inquiry. However, I would remind the right hon. Gentleman that there is a plumbo solvency problem in this water supply, and that...
Mr David Gibson-Watt: My right hon. and learned Friend has written to my hon. Friend about a particular case. I am making inquiries whether this is a widespread problem. Local authorities already have sufficient powers to deal with nuisances.
Mr David Gibson-Watt: As I said to my hon. Friend, if this proves to be a widespread problem we will certainly look at it very closely.
Mr David Gibson-Watt: That is another question, but I shall be happy to look into the point which the hon. Gentleman has raised.
Mr David Gibson-Watt: As I say, I am making inquiries into whether this is a widespread problem. If it proves to be, we shall not be backward in looking into this question.
Mr David Gibson-Watt: Improvement grants are already given for installing full central heating in old people's dwellings owned by local authorities, housing associations, charitable trusts and similar bodies. In other dwellings, grant towards the cost of space heating up to Parker Morris standard can be given when this forms part of a scheme for the comprehensive improvement of a dwelling.
Mr David Gibson-Watt: This is a complicated and difficult matter because whereas it is possible to ensure that council houses, where the installation of full central heating has been grant-aided, continue to be occupied by elderly people, this cannot be done where the house is privately owned. This, therefore, presents a formidable difficulty to the Government.
Mr David Gibson-Watt: There are, indeed, a large number of circulars and communications which the Welsh Office sends and has sent to local authorities. If it is possible, I will get the list and let the hon. Gentleman have it.