§ 31 and 32. Mr. A. Lewis
asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government and Minister for Welsh Affairs (1) if he is aware that there was a 24 per cent, reduction in the purchasing value of the £ sterling, and a 41 per cent. increase in the index of retail prices between 1951 and 1961 and that expenditure on local authority houses has fallen by 11 per cent. what was the reason for this; and what action he proposes to take to restore this position;
(2) if he is aware that, between 1951 and 1961, expenditure on private house building rose by 810 per cent., whilst at the same time expenditure on local authority house building fell by 11 per cent.; and what action he proposes to take to rectify this imbalance.
§ Sir K. Joseph
In 1961 as compared with 1951 many more houses from a much larger total programme were built privately. This increase in private building has restored the balance lost in 1951 when nearly 90 per cent. of total housing was for local authorities. While local authority housing will increase, it is still the Government's policy to look to private builders as the main providers of new houses.
§ Mr. Lewis
Do not the figures given by the Chancellor of the Exchequer reveal a shocking state of affairs? Taking into account the depreciation in the value of the £ and the rise in the cost of building, is it not terrible that we have an 810 per cent. increase in private building while there has been a falling of more 743 than 11 per cent. in local authority building? Since it is just those with low incomes who really need the housing and it is those people, in the main, who are council tenants, ought not the Minister to do something to increase council house building? The 6 per cent. rise he has announced will not recover anything which has been lost over the past years.
§ Sir K. Joseph
Most of the people of this country are better housed now than ever before, and local authority housing is now increasing again.