asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government and Minister for Welsh Affairs if he will list the fifty local authorities with the largest populations which, under the Housing Bill, are likely to receive an annual subsidy of £8 instead of the present £22 per house, and the fifty largest to receive £24 instead of £22.
As the rate of subsidy payable will depend in the first instance upon the state of a local authority's housing revenue account at the end of March, 1962, I have not at present sufficient information to make reliable forecasts about individual local authorities; their own treasurers are best qualified to advise them what rate they are likely to receive initially.
Yes, but the Minister surely must have prepared such figures when telling us in Committee that the increases would balance the cuts. Is the Minister aware that this list would show that Manchester, Liverpool and Newcastle, with terrible housing situations, are to have their subsidies slashed, while Bournemouth will benefit? How can the right hon. Gentleman defend such a gross injustice?
This has been fully debated. If Manchester, Liverpool and Newcastle do not qualify in the first instance for more than £8 subsidy, that is because the test shows that they have considerable potential financial resources which they could mobilise by charging more realistic rents.
The matter has been debated a good deal, but the Minister has never answered this point. When preparing the Bill, he must have had some idea about the answer to my hon. Friend's Question. Why cannot we have the information as to which authorities he thinks will gain and which will lose so that we may judge the matter in the light of the facts?
During debates on the Bill I gave a broad indication—and I stick to it—that half the local authorities will qualify initially for the £24 and half for the £8. But that is a very different matter from that raised by this Question, which asks me to specify one hundred particular authorities. That I could not do.