Housing

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 Russell Fairgrieve Mr Russell Fairgrieve , Aberdeenshire West 12:00 am, 21st June 1978

I am sorry, I cannot accept that. There is no evidence at all that if people did not buy their houses they would vacate them for somebody else. That is the point that I have made.

We who believe in a property-owning democracy believe that when a person owns this or that council house he is entitled to sell it, swap it, change it or do what he wants with it. That is what it is all about—giving people choice, individuality and a stake in their own property. We Conservatives are determined to do this.

Of course a large number of people will stay as council tenants, and it is vital that they be encouraged to form schemes by which they can participate in the management of their estates. That will encourage them to take some pride in their estate and give them a sense of belonging. Too often housing managers, however good, are far too hard-pressed to have all the interests of the tenants at heart. It is too easy for them to become remote and bureaucratic. Once things start to slip, the sense of pride in the community is lost. Furthermore, it is important that transfers and exchanges should be simple so that people can move to more appropriate flats as their families grow up.

A fair and balanced policy on these lines is more likely to meet the real aspirations of our people than any lopsided, bureaucratic, centralist emphasis on one type of housing. Housing is about people, about life, about families, about the most cherished and personal values in life and our standard of living. My party in Scotland is determined to give our people real opportunities to achieve their aspirations in this field, and we believe that with our ideas and policies we are much better equipped to do this than the Labour Party can ever be with its doctrinaire approach to these human problems and hopes.