§ Mr. Alfred Morris
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what consideration he has now given to the recommendations made to him by the North-West Economic Planning Council in its Report entitled "The Social Planning of Urban Renewal"; what action he has taken or is taking; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Graham Page
I welcome the report as a valuable contribution to the study of the need for urban renewal and the means of achieving it.
A great deal is in line with action now being taken in my Department, especially that based on the concept of developing a "total approach" to problems of the urban environment. Studies have been commissioned and are in progress in six towns for this purpose, two of them being in the North-West.
I agree with the need for a broad conception of a housing authority's rôle 151W and for local residents to be involved in, for example, the creation of general improvement areas.
We are planning ways of speeding up slum clearance and redevelopment procedures and of getting the best concentration of resources in areas of housing stress. The problems of blight are recognised in the recent White Paper "Development and Compensation—Putting People First" which sets out—in paragraphs 57 to 64—the steps, including legislation now before the House, that are being taken to minimise its distressing effects.