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Council Houses (Stockport)

Volume 973: debated on Wednesday 14 November 1979

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8.

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment how many council houses have been built in the metropolitan borough of Stockport in each of the last five years; and what is the present waiting list.

The number of council houses completed in the metropolitan borough of Stockport in each of the last five years was:

197476
1975143
1976243
1977658
1978146
There are currently reported to be 4,534 people on the council's waiting list.

Is not the Minister aware that those statistics are a disgrace? The Government's housing strategy means that poorer working-class couples in Stockport face the prospect of the best housing stock being sold off, the worst being left in disrepair, and the Government's policy on interest rates putting private housing beyond their reach? The whole Government housing strategy, as those statistics show, is a cruel fraud on working class couples.

If the hon. Gentleman bothered to study the facts, he would realise that waiting lists are a most unreliable measure of housing need. He also ought to realise that, according to the information reaching my Department, the reductions in this year's programme caused no problems at all. I believe that Stockport is well capable of looking after its own affairs.

Does my hon. Friend agree that it is precisely that political Dutch auction attitude that lies behind the question of the hon. Member for Stockport, South (Mr. McNally) that has condemned a number of people to the council house waiting list for an interminable length of time? Surely the Government should be concentrating on need rather than on numbers.

I could not be in greater agreement with everything that my hon. Friend has said.