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Volume 827: debated on Monday 29 November 1971

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asked the Secretary of State for Wales what is the percentage of the average income in Wales paid in rent at the present time by tenants of council houses and by tenants of privately owned property, respectively; and what the percentage will be, in both cases, on the basis of the enactment of the proposals contained in the Housing Finance Bill.

No figures are available which show average incomes of council or private tenants, or the average of rents paid. It follows that no forecast can be made on the hon. Member's assumption.

That is a strangely uneducated reply, when one considers that the current average rent in Wales, private and local authority, is £2·18 and that in 1976 it will be £4·18 according to a projection by the Department of the Environment. Is the hon. Gentleman aware that to 67 local authorities an increase of 50 per cent. represents 25 per cent. of the net unrebated rent and that if local authorities do not increase their rents by 1st April next year by the mandatory £1 this will represent in many cases 50 per cent. of the net unrebated rent? Lastly, would not the hon. Gentleman agree that the message of the Bill is that rents will go up and that he and the Secretary of State are guilty of abdication of duty by failing to take a place in the Standing Committee, where the people of Wales would like to see them?

If the hon. Gentleman will allow me, I will study his rather long supplementary question and write to him on it. On the last part of the question, as I said to his hon. Friend the Member for Bedwellty (Mr. Kinnock), this is the first Government who have ever tried to bring common sense into housing finance.

Does the Minister of State mean that his right hon. and learned Friend agreed to this proposal without having any data to enable him to consider what effect this would have in Wales, when his right hon. and learned Friend has said before that he did not think that this would be unduly injurious to Wales? On what was he basing such supposition?

I do not see that that applies to the Question I am trying to answer. The only information is in the form published in the report for 1970 of the family expenditure survey carried out by the Department of Employment. The hon. Gentleman will find a copy of this in the Library.