HC Deb 06 June 1961 vol 641 cc867-8
13. Mr. MacColl

asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government and Minister for Welsh Affairs whether he will state for the last convenient year the names of the local authorities which have received expensive site subsidies, and, in the case of each authority, the average cost per acre of the land in respect of which it has been paid.

Mr. Brooke

I will, with permission, circulate in the OFFICIAL REPORT a table showing for the London County Council and for county boroughs in which payment of expensive site subsidy was approved during the five years ended 31st March, 1961, the number of sites concerned and the average cost per acre of the land. The cost for this purpose of subsidy includes the cost of clearance and preliminary development as well as the cost of buying the land.

To examine individually the records for each of the other 1,400 housing authorities would involve a disproportionate amount of work which I do not think would add significantly to the information in the table, but I will willingly give the hon. Member the facts and figures for any individual authority he desires.

Mr. MacColl

Can the right hon. Gentleman confirm that there has been a very alarming increase in the cost to public funds of the expensive site subsidy due to the increase in the cost of land? Do the figures he quotes indicate whether it is true that only a few local authorities are suffering from this problem? If so, why is it necessary to look at the returns of many small authorities? Is it not, as he says, the large authorities in the conurbations which are suffering?

Mr. Brooke

The list I shall circulate includes the names of about 25 county boroughs, but the hon. Gentleman will, of course, appreciate that this does not give any direct indication of the cost of the bare land. For purposes of expensive site subsidy, one has to take into account also the cost of any buildings that are on the land being acquired, and also the cost of preliminary development of the site.

Following is the table:

Authority Number of Sites Average cost per acre as developed
Birmingham 15 10,808
Canterbury 3 5,167
Coventry 3 10,500
Croydon 8 6,620
Bristol 1 13,500
Grimsby 1 6,591
Halifax 1 10,000
Hastings 1 4,500
Huddersfield 2 9,000
Ipswich 1 22,024
Leicester 1 14,550
Manchester 2 8,071
Middlesbrough 2 13,783
Newcastle 4 5,800
Nottingham 14 6,739
Plymouth 18 13,481
St. Helens 1 5,500
Salford 11 8,579
Sheffield 12 12,612
Southampton 1 22,885
South Shields 1 5,500
West Ham 19 7,342
Wolverhampton 4 7,500
York 1 5,988
L.C.C 155 15,616