asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what recent representations he has received about repairing defective system-built housing in Basildon; and what action he proposes to take in consequence.
I have recently received a number of letters from my hon. Friend on behalf of his constituents and direct from owner-occupiers of houses built by Basildon development corporation, using the Lindsay Parkinson HSSB design. Recently I visited the area, together with my hon. Friend, and I hope to announce shortly what steps can be taken to assist.
I thank my hon. Friend and his Department for the assistance that they have so far been able to give to my constituents with their problems. I urge him to act as quickly as possible so that defective properties are repurchased, or the owners receive full compensation, or the properties are repaired, or are given a clean bill of health.
I appreciate the various remedies that have been put forward by my hon. Friend, but, as I told him recently, I shall be very glad to have a meeting with representatives of the Vange Action Group. I am very conscious of the need for an early decision.
May I say to the Minister with responsibility for sport that I hope that defective housing will be more successfully tackled than was the World Cup by the English football team? Serious though the problems may be in Basildon, may I make the point that this is a national problem and that it requires urgent attention and the provision of national assistance to local authorities and development corporations before the year is out?
I hope that the hon. Gentleman will not consider that I am giving him the elbow, but housing in this country is considerably better than much of the housing that I saw when I was in Mexico. Of course, the Government of Mexico are much more closely associated with the party opposite than they are with the party of this side of the House.
Send him off!
Order. This is supposed to be about housing in Basildon.
You are quite right, Mr. Speaker. The only housing that we know of similar to that in Basildon is in Watford.