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Local Authorities (Empty Houses)

Volume 82: debated on Wednesday 10 July 1985

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asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what measures he plans to take to require local authorities to sell the empty houses currently in their possession.

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what action he proposes to seek to reduce the number of local authority dwellings remaining empty for long periods; and whether he will make a statement.

The public sector should take all possible steps to reduce the numbers of empty dwellings.My Department is today issuing a circular to all local authorities in England with detailed guidance on measures to reduce the number of their empty dwellings by:

  • 1. Better management of their reletting procedures;
  • 2. Better management of their improvement programmes;
  • 3. Greater use of short-life schemes and temporary lettings;
  • 4. Sales to the private sector.
  • My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Environment had decided to promote the short-life use of empty local authority property by extending the eligibility for Housing Association grant ("Mini-Hag") to dwellings which are not scheduled for demolition. This should be of particular benefit to homeless families.

    The Government encourage local authorities to sell vacant dwellings either directly into owner-ocupation, granting discounts to priority purchasers, or to developers for improvement and subsequent sale into owner-occupation.