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Local Authority Mortgages

Volume 932: debated on Wednesday 18 May 1977

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asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he or one of his Ministers will make arrangements to visit the Royal borough of Windsor and Maidenhead in order to discuss the effects of the reduction in money available for local authority mortgage loans.

No, Sir. I am aware of the difficulties that many local authorities are experiencing as a result of the further reduction in their mortgage lending quotas, but the additional funds that the building societies are making available under the support arrangements will enable the Royal borough to maintain its lending broadly at the 1976–77 level. In addition, the new arrangements, which my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State announced on 6th April, will enable it, if it wishes, to switch up to £500,000 to lending from other programmes.

I am grateful to the Minister for that full answer. Is the hon. Gentleman aware of a real problem—namely, that building societies are reluctant to lend money on older property? Does he appreciate that the reduction from £2·4 million in 1975 to £620,000 in 1977–78 is having a real impact on those who wish to buy older property? That is reflected by the amount of money that the building societies are prepared to advance.

I do not disagree with anything that the hon. Gentleman has said. We have indicated to local authorities and building societies that we want the money to be allocated to the special priority categories, which include the very ones that the hon. Gentleman has raised.

Has my hon. Friend calculated the amount of money that is being spent by building societies in Windsor and Maidenhead on decorations for the Silver Jubilee? They are spending a great deal of money on such decorations—money that could be devoted to more useful purposes.

No. I am afraid that I have not spent time undertaking that calculation.