Orders of the Day — Housing and Building Control Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 8:29 pm on 5th July 1983.

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Photo of Andrew MacKay Andrew MacKay , Berkshire East 8:29 pm, 5th July 1983

I should not recommend that the hon. Gentleman's newly Labour-controlled local authority breach the law and I am sure that he would not encourage it to do so.

Many people have been waiting an extra year for the larger discounts, which can cause problems as they become a year older and their circumstances change. They will be able to buy immediately.

My final point relates to adapted houses. Many Opposition Members, and certainly the hon. Member for Manchester, Blackley (Mr. Eastham), completely misunderstood my hon. Friend the Minister. It all seemed clear to me, but perhaps it would be wise to spell it out once more. The Bill contains no suggestion that houses that have been purpose-built for the disabled or the elderly are eligible for sale. They are not. I have a constituent who has been forbidden to buy his house because he is severely disabled, as is his wife. The house has been adapted by the local authority to suit his purpose, although it is an ordinary semi-detached local authority house.

When we have had an "International Year of the Disabled People", it is sick that the disabled who suffer severely should be doubly penalised by being unable to buy their own homes. My constituent and many more disabled people who live in local authority accommodation, which has been adapted, will be delighted that they have been given the opportunity to purchase.

I hope that I have it wrong—forgive me if I have—but some Opposition Members seem to be opposed to the sale of council houses, and I respect their point of view, but they seem doubly opposed to the sale of council houses to disabled people. That seems amazing. They do not want to help ordinary decent tenants who wish to buy, and they want to have a double go by knocking the disabled tenant. I hope that disabled electors will take careful note of that.

I wish the Bill godspeed in Committee. It is an excellent Bill which will be warmly welcomed. I am delighted by the views of the official Opposition. I shall ensure that their speeches are circulated widely in my constituency. Their views have gained us extra votes. I hope that the hon. Member for Bootle will continue his opposition and I wish the hon. Member for Norwood (Mr. Fraser), who is to wind up for the Opposition, more power to his elbow. We enjoy immensely what he has to say.