§ Lord AVEBURY
asked Her Majesty's Government:
Whether they have received evidence to show that local authorities have insufficient money to modernise older properties taken over from private owners, and what steps they are taking to ensure that such properties do not remain out of use.
§ The PARLIAMENTARY UNDER-SECRETARY of STATE, DEPARTMENT of the ENVIRONMENT (Baroness Birk)
Within the overall financial limitations on improvement expenditure it is the Government's intention to see that help is given where it is needed most. Steps are therefore being taken progressively to redirect resources away from the improvement of those purpose-built council estates already up to a reasonable standard, to the improvement of dwellings without standard amenities or in serious disrepair, especially those acquired from private owners under the social ownership programme. Local authorities were asked to state the number of acquired dwellings which they proposed to improve, when making bids for their allocations for 1975–76 under Section 105 of the Housing Act 1974. In most cases the allocations made should be sufficient to enable authorities to undertake such programmes in addition to meeting existing commitments. The Secretary of State for the Environment is, however, shortly to discuss with representatives of the local authority associations what further steps may need to be taken to ensure that the available resources are best used to secure the Government's housing objectives.