§ Mr. George Grant
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what proposals he has designed to encourage public and private housing starts in Northumberland.
§ Mr. Kaufman
The disastrous collapse in new housebuilding in 1973, which affected Northumberland and the rest of the country, cannot be reversed overnight, but our policies of encouraging local authorities and housing associations to provide more homes for rent have already led to a substantial recovery in new housing starts. We will continue to pursue those policies vigorously. Following the introduction of the £500 million loans scheme for building societies, the level of building society monthly net new commitments has more than doubled. This should increase the level of sales of houses246W for owner occupation. The Government will take action to secure a stable and adequate flow of mortgage lending.