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Council Houses (Purchase Offers)

Volume 527: debated on Tuesday 18 May 1954

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asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government how many requests he has received from local authorities to approve the sale of council houses to property-owning companies.

None, Sir. The position is still as stated in the answer given to the hon. and gallant Member on 16th March last.

Is it not now clear that even the Wanstead and Woodford Borough Council, which was playing with the idea, has come to the conclusion that this is an undesirable proposal to follow, in the public interest? Will not the hon. Gentleman also remind local authorities of a sentence in his own Departmental Circular No. 64 of 1952:

"There is no question of selling or leasing houses to individuals or organisations for investment or speculation "?

I have just had representations from the Opposition Front Bench to reduce the number of circulars sent to local authorities. In this instance, I am sure that the hon. and gallant Gentleman would not wish me to send out a special letter reminding them of a circular which they already have on their files.

Could the hon. Gentleman not send out just one more circular, cancelling this preposterous suggestion about the sale of council houses?

Would the Minister make one point clear? Is it correct that the general policy towards the sale of council houses is to encourage owner-occupation?