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Council Houses (Sales)

Volume 975: debated on Monday 3 December 1979

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asked the Secretary of State for the Environment how many council tenants, both in absolute numbers and as a percentage of the total, will qualify to buy council houses at discounts of (a) 20 per cent., (b) 30 per cent. and (c) 50 per cent.

I assume that the right hon. Member's question relates to the position under the Government's proposals to give council tenants the right to buy their homes. Discounts will range from 33 per cent. after three years, rising with length of tenancy to a maximum of 50 per cent. after 20 years. Statistics are not collected on the length of time tenants have been local authority tenants. The estimates below must therefore be subject to wide variation.

Approximate stock of council dwellings in England.5 million
Estimated number of tenants qualifying for at least 33 per cent. discount but less than 50 per cent. discount.2·75 million (55 per cent.)
Estimated number of tenants qualifying for 50 per cent. discount.1·5 million (30 per cent.)
The figures above are for those tenants who are estimated to qualify for discounts. Whether they will be able to take advantage of the right to buy proposals will depend upon a number of factors such as the value of their house and the amount of money they can obtain by way of mortgage.

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment why the information on the financial consequences of the sale of council houses was withheld in the public expenditure White Paper, Cmnd. 7746, notwithstanding the undertaking, Official Report, 26 July, c. 465, given by the Minister for Housing and Construction that the White Paper would contain such information.

Since Cmnd. 7746 included only brief comments on individual programmes it was made clear in paragraph 11 that, where appropriate, the Ministers concerned would be announcing further details. Prior to the publication of Cmnd. 7746 my right hon. Friend had already announced that he intended to publish an appraisal of the financial effects of the sale of council houses for the parliamentary consideration of the forthcoming housing Bill. This will be done as soon as possible.