Private Sector Homes (Sales)

Oral Answers to Questions — Environment – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 21st April 1982.

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Photo of Mr Bob Cryer Mr Bob Cryer , Keighley 12:00 am, 21st April 1982

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will introduce a system to facilitate voluntary arrangements for house or flat purchase by private sector tenants; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of John Stanley John Stanley Minister (Department of Environment) (Housing & Construction)

As, at a rough estimate, some 150,000 to 200,000 private tenants have voluntarily negotiated the purchase of their homes over the last decade, the hon. Member's proposal does not appear necessary.

Photo of Mr Bob Cryer Mr Bob Cryer , Keighley

Why does the Minister repeatedly refuse to introduce legislation to give private tenants the same rights as council tenants? Since the Government are hounding local authorities to force them to sell houses, if that is such a good system why does it not apply to private tenants? Or is it the case that the Tories have double standards of private profit and public exploitation?

Photo of John Stanley John Stanley Minister (Department of Environment) (Housing & Construction)

As the hon. Gentleman knows from previous answers, the Government do not consider that they have the right to require the disposal of houses that have been purchased by private individuals with their private assets. If the hon. Gentleman is saying that he is in favour of the right to buy in the private sector, I cannot see why he wishes to fight the next election under the banner of a party that is committed to withdraw the right to buy from the public sector.

Photo of Mr Dudley Smith Mr Dudley Smith , Warwick and Leamington

Is my hon. Friend aware that a fair number of people who are voluntarily trying to buy their own homes from housing associations are running into some difficulty? Will he do everything possible to encourage those associations to ensure that people who genuinely wish to purchase their own homes are able to do so?

Photo of John Stanley John Stanley Minister (Department of Environment) (Housing & Construction)

I note what my hon. Friend has said. The right to buy in part extends to housing associations. If tenants are having difficulty in exercising their statutory right to buy, I hope that my hon. Friend will write to me, giving the details.

Photo of Mr Bob Cryer Mr Bob Cryer , Keighley

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. In view of the totally unsatisfactory nature of that reply, I give notice that I shall seek to raise this matter on the Adjournment at the earliest opportunity.