§ 16. Mr. Arthur Jones
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will update to current prices the following totals for housing subsidies in England in 1975–76 which are at constant 1974 prices: total housing subsidies, including rate fund contributions and rent rebate allowances, given as £1,014.5 million, improvement and renovation grants, given as £102.3 million, and local authority improvement investment given as £210.8 million.
§ Mr. Jones
That does not help us today. But in the context of the Secretary of State's reply to an earlier Question, that housing subsidies have doubled in the last two or three years and his reply to another Question, that he was concerned to contain local government expenditure, am I right in thinking that the level of housing subsidies must become of considerable concern to the Government? How do they propose to contain housing subsidies? What and where are their proposals in this respect to contain the use of taxpayers' money by the use of indiscriminate housing subsidies?
§ Mr. Kaufman
The subsidies are not indiscriminate. Nevertheless, I accept that this is a matter which needs to be examined carefully. My right hon. Friend has instituted the most far-reaching housing finance review which has ever been conducted. The results will be available within the next year.
§ Mr. Kaufman
I accept that there are problems here. I cannot give the figure 403 without notice. However, as a result of our legislation, any surplus on a housing revenue account will not be filched by the Treasury as it was under the Housing Finance Act.
§ Following is the information:
§ Revalued from 1974 to 1975 survey prices the figures are as follows:
|Total housing subsidies, including rate fund contributions and rent rebates and allowances||1,218.4|
|Improvement and renovation grants||116.6|
|Local authority improvement investment||240.3|
§ Since the publication of Cmnd. 5879 I have increased the provision for local authority improvements this year to £290 million.