§ Mr. Latham
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will seek to ascertain how many local authorities have used their powers under the Housing Finance Act 1972 to refer rents of privately-owned dwellings to rent officers; if he will list the authorities concerned and state the number of references each has made; and if he will take steps to encourage all local authorities to make greater use of their powers in this regard.
§ Mr. Eyre
The information requested is not readily available by local authority areas, but I will write to the hon. Member as soon as possible with fuller information. Meanwhile the following table provides a breakdown, by rent assessment panel areas, of the figures given to the hon. Member in reply to his Question of 30th January—[Vol. 868, c.103]. The power the Housing Finance Act gave local authorities was fully explained in DOE Circular 77/72, issued to all housing authorities and to county councils on 31st August 1972. The table shows that local authorities in all regions are aware of, and making use of, this power and on the basis of the figures quoted I am content to continue to place reliance on the discretion of local authorities to refer such rents as they consider appropriate.