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Council House Sales

Volume 181: debated on Wednesday 21 November 1990

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To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how many council houses have been sold to sitting tenants in Scotland since May 1979.

Since April 1979, well over 200,000 public sector houses in Scotland have been sold to sitting tenants, including 148,000 by local authorities to sitting tenants.

What percentage of the council house stock in Scotland has been sold to sitting tenants? If the figure is still significantly lower than the figure in England., what steps is the Minister taking to increase sales in Scotland?

The figure is 20·4 per cent. and the gap between Scotland and England is narrowing—it was 4 per cent. earlier this year and has dropped to 3·2 per cent. We are ensuring through publicity that people in Scotland are well aware of the opportunities before them and of the trial rents-to-mortgages scheme which will be extended to a total of 370,000 tenants. We are taking steps as quickly as possible.

How many houses have been repossessed because the sitting tenants could no longer afford the mortgage repayments because of the Government's policies?

In Britain, the figure is less than 0·1 per cent. and in Scotland it is believed to be considerably lower because, on average, market values are considerably lower in Scotland than south of the border. It is not a great problem and building societies are taking every possible step to meet the legitimate wishes of those in trouble.