asked the Secretary of State for Defence if it is Government policy to continue to evict tenants from tied defence houses.
We resort to eviction only when unavoidable and when all other expedients have failed.
While I entirely understand the reasons why the Government must secure their own houses for Service personnel on such occasions, and why the hon. Gentleman has had to evict one of my constituents from a Service house, how can it be that the Government are at the same time making noises saying that other people should not have tied houses and that tied houses should be abolished in the private sector?
The hon. Gentleman will know that his constituent's case is to be heard in court for the first time on Thursday. Therefore it is not fair to say that the constituent has already been evicted.On the question of tied houses, I would wish all other landlords of tied houses to be as considerate as the Services were towards their tenants, as the recent Shelter report on tied accommodation fairly points out.
Does not my hon. Friend think it ridiculous that some councils still insist on the Services taking a court order against their tenants before they will rehouse them in council accommodation? Will my hon. Friend have discussions with the local authority associations to see whether there is a way round this long and arduous procedure?
It is unfortunate that the stress for tenants who are likely to lose their accommodation should be heightened by insistence on court orders or even, in some cases, warrants of possession before consideration is given to rehousing. My right hon. Friend will shortly be issuing a circular on the question to local government. I hope that the circular will be helpful in dealing with the point my hon. Friend has made.