Part of Orders of the Day — Supply – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 21st June 1978.

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Photo of Mr David Penhaligon Mr David Penhaligon , Truro 12:00 am, 21st June 1978

I do not see the relevance of that intervention to what I am saying. I want properties that are to be permanently used as a business concern for summer let to be subject to planning permission. That is all I am asking for, and is all that I have ever asked for. In Cornwall, we are not talking about the odd property in a case where, say, the husband has been sent abroad for a time and decides to make sensible use of his property while the family is away. We are not talking about the sort of property which becomes vacant for a year or so. The local council would clearly understand the background and would give permission for it to be occupied while the family was absent. We are talking about a real commercial enterprise in which there is real money, real profit and a real movement of property. I am talking of 25 per cent. or 30 per cent. of the properties in a town of 15,000 people.

If the Conservative Party gets its way and allows local authority properties in such areas to be too easily buyable by the tenants—the tenants are not fools, and will buy them because they will have a capital gain on their hands—in the long-term interests of the Cornish resorts and their communities, it will be nonsense. That is why I have always supported the argument that local authorities should have the right to decide whether council houses are to be sold. They are the ones that know the local situation. The Cornish local authority will know that the situation I have described will happen in Portscatho whereas if one sells the houses off in St. Austell it will not happen.

That is the logical way to make the decision. Each case should be looked at on its individual merit. It is for the local community to discuss the situation. There is no one in Cornwall who does not realise that, under this Conservative proposal, that is what will happen to the properties. People might desire that situation but no one in Cornwall does not recognise that that is what will happen.