Mr. Gareth Thomas
To ask the Secretary of State for Wales when he proposes to abolish Tai Cymru; and how he will make its functions democratically accountable. 
§ Mr. Win Griffiths
Following the publication of the Government of Wales Bill, which makes provision for the winding up of Tai Cymru, I am pleased to announce that Tai Cymru and Welsh Office Housing Division will be merged to form an integrated Housing Department of the Welsh Office. This will initially be accountable to my right hon. Friend and ultimately to the Assembly.
Subject to the enactment of the Government of Wales Bill we propose that the new Housing Department will be formed on 1 January 1999 and will cover all the existing functions of the two organisations. I estimate that the staffing structure of the new organisation will produce long-term pay bill savings of approximately £55,000 per annum, about 20 per cent. of the current pay costs of the two organisations. There will be some short-term setting up costs.
I have today published a consultation paper on the organisation and role of the Housing Department and its relations with other bodies including an enhanced role for local authorities in planning the provision of housing in their areas. I have placed copies in the Library of the House.