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Volume 722: debated on Tuesday 21 December 1965

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asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government what was the average annual per- centage rate of increase in housebuilding from 1960 to 1964; and what is the average annual percentage rate of increase from 1965 to 1969 contemplated in Command Paper No. 2838.

Completions in the United Kingdom increased between 1960 and 1964 by an average of 6½ per cent. a year. Between 1965 and 1969 the Government aim is to increase completions by 1 per cent. less, an average of 5½ per cent. a year.

Of course, while the percentage increase is smaller the actual numbers are much greater—we are going to have an extra 90,000 houses in the next four years compared with the extra 79,000 achieved between 1960 and 1964.

Does not that admission that the rate of increase in house building is planned for the next four years at a rate lower than that for the last four years make a nonsense of all the right hon. Gentleman's ballyhoo about a housing programme?

I do not think that it does. What we have done is to get a balanced programme between the public and the private sector in a form which was not even attempted in the previous four years.

But is the price of that balanced programme a reduction in the rate of growth?

It is a balanced programme which the country can afford and which in the National Plan we have decided that we can allocate to housing. If I can say this to the right hon. Member for Kingston-upon-Thames (Mr. Boyd-Carpenter), his side never envisaged 500,000 houses a year. Indeed, they said that it was impossible to achieve it.