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Council House Sales

Volume 932: debated on Wednesday 25 May 1977

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asked the Secretary of State for Scotland how many applications he has had from housing authorities to sell council houses since October 1974; how many of these applications have been granted; and what was the average time taken by his Department to give substantive replies to these applications.

Since July 1974, when general consent was withdrawn, until 30th April 1977, 565 applications were received and 330 granted. Elapsed time between proposals and replies varied between two and 10 weeks, according to the form of the proposals and the complexities which they raised.

Is the Minister aware that in the recent district elections Scotland showed perfectly clearly that it felt that people ought to have a right to buy the home in which they live? Will he assure the House that it will be no part of the present Government's policy to frustrate the legitimate aims of properly elected councils in this matter?

I think that it is stretching it a bit to suggest that that was the only issue, or, indeed, the main issue, that inflenced people's voting patterns in the recent district elections. We shall be looking at this topic in the context of any possible changes that might follow the review of housing policy that will be dealt with in our Green Paper. There will be adequate time to discuss future housing plans, but I can give an assurance now that there will be no blanket approval for the indiscriminate wholesale selling of council houses.

Does my hon. Friend know of any man who has honey on his hands and does not want to lick it off at the earliest possible moment? My response to the style of the Question is that I anticipate a wholesale selling of houses in Drumchapel, Castlemilk and Easter house.

If I understand my hon. Friend's question, I think that what he was asking was whether there is any evidence, in the three largest housing schemes in Scotland, of a widespread demand to buy houses. The answer is a definite "No".

We have all heard of inflation, but does the hon. Gentleman regard it as reasonable that the price of a local authority house that was offered for sale at £5,800 in 1974 should have risen now to £10,000?

I think that the hon. Gentleman is wasting Question Time. [Interruption.] We are now dealing with Question No. 10. The hon. Gentleman is wasting Question Time when he asks me a hypothetical question about a house about which I have no knowledge.