asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will make a special subsidy to local authorities for all new houses and flats started within the next 12 months as a means of relieving the housing shortage and also the unemployment in the building industry.
In the Housing Rents and Subsidies Bill, we have already included a new capital costs element of housing subsidy. As from 1st April next this will provide strong financial support for local authority housebuilding programmes, which have already been considerably increased, These measures, together with the action announced on 27th January by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State, in answer to my hon. Friend the Member for Bolton, West (Mrs. Taylor)—[Vol. 885, c. 43–4.]—to restore confidence in the private sector, provide substantial help for the house-building industry.