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House Building

Volume 300: debated on Wednesday 5 November 1997

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What representations he has received concerning the building of extra houses in Wales. [12379]

I have received the Welsh Local Government Association's housing manifesto for Wales, which urges an increase in social housing provision.

Does the Minister agree with the Minister for the Regions, Regeneration and Planning that the green belt is up for grabs?

There is no such thing as the green belt being up for grabs in Wales. Under current planning guidance in Wales, there is no green belt. However, earlier this summer, I wrote to all Welsh planning authorities asking them to consider those places where it would be appropriate to have green belts because of the danger of one settlement running into another.

Does my hon. Friend agree that the release of capital receipts by the Government will provide a great boost to the building of local authority homes, if local authorities wish to build? Will he welcome that release of capital receipts for authorities such as Flintshire, which is ploughing money into new house building and refurbishments this year?

Under the capital receipts initiative, more than £9 million will be available this year and more than £33 million in the next financial year. Local authorities will be able to put forward proposals on how that money might be spent. They will be able to provide more new houses if they act together with housing associations, bringing in private capital. One way or another, the capital receipts initiative is good news for housing and people in Wales.