asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government and Minister for Welsh Affairs, in view of the 4,023 houses estimated to be unfit in the Gateshead County Borough and the promised special drive for slum clearance in the worst areas, why this local authority has been asked to reduce its plans for building 1,000 houses to fulfil its commitments for slum clearance during 1962 to a figure of 500 houses.
The Council estimated in September, 1960, that 2,818 unfit houses remained and said that they expected to deal with these within ten years. They succeeded last year in completing only 206 houses although they put nearly 600 into contract. It seems unlikely that they could manage a programme of anything like 1,000 this year or that they would be wise to try it; and they have been advised to plan for 500. But I am quite prepared to review this figure if they are able to make substantially better progress.