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 Reginald Freeson Mr Reginald Freeson , Brent East 12:00 am, 21st June 1978

I said between 35,000 and 40,000 dwellings, which is nearly four times as many as under the Conservative Administration. That is an achievement of fact nor rhetoric.

The housing association movement is also moving more of its activity into inner urban areas where the greatest stress lies. It is purchasing properties for social ownership. It is modernising, repairing and converting and providing those properties at reasonable rents for people who are in the greatest need. It is also participating on an expanding scale in cooperative housing, community leasehold, shared equity and even down-market provision for sale. It has our backing and encouragement. We reject the idea that the Government are concerned with only one kind of tenure. We must aim for a variety of tenure. We do not want to see an indiscriminate eroding of rented property.

Time and again Opposition Members complain about the inadequate supply of rented housing. In fact, there are about the same numbers of rented dwellings now as there were 30 years ago. The difference is that the bulk were then privately owned and mostly sub-standard, whereas today the bulk of them are publicly owned by local authorities and housing associations and they are in mostly good condition. If we were to get rid of that kind of stock on an indiscriminate basis, which is the policy of the Opposition, we would undermine the provision of rented housing.