§ Mr. Newens
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment (1) if he will reconsider both the levels of admissible expenditure determined in the assessment of claims under section 51 of the New Towns Act 1981 and the percentage grant offered on such expenditure with a view to uplifting both figures in the case of all the new towns involved;
(2) what initial response he has received from new town local authorities to his proposals for grant under section 51 of the New Towns Act 1981; and if he is prepared to meet those involved to discuss a more favourable settlement.
§ Sir George Young
I wrote to the Association of District Councils on 13 July putting forward our proposals for settling claims for grant under section 51 of the New Towns Act 1981 in the light of the reports from NBA Building Performance Services Ltd. and offering a meeting. The association has not yet replied but we will, of course, consider any representations from them, or the individual authorities only one of whom has so far replied, before reaching our final decision. These will need to take into account that the assessment of admissible expenditure was made by independent experts against criteria drawn up after lengthy discussion and that most of the authorities concerned are already, or shortly will be, benefiting financially from taking over the new town housing.