Short Title, Commencement and Extent

Clause 54 – in the House of Commons at 6:30 pm on 21st December 1983.

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Mr. Eric S. Helfer:

I beg to move amendment No. 45, in page 48, line 28, at end insert— '(2A) Sections 1 to 14 of this Act shall come into force for such local authority areas and on such days as the Secretary of State may by order by statutory instrument appoint when he certifies that in each such area the number of persons seeking to become secure tenants is not substantially greater than the number of dwelling-houses available for letting as secure tenancies.'.

Photo of Mr Bernard Weatherill Mr Bernard Weatherill , Croydon North East

With this it will be convenient to take the following amendments: No. 46, in page 48. line 29, leave out 'subsection (2)' and insert 'subsections (2) and (2A)'.

No. 47, in page 48, line 30, leave out 'two' and insert 'twelve'.

Photo of Mr Eric Heffer Mr Eric Heffer , Liverpool, Walton

These important amendments provide that clauses 1 to 14 should come into force in a local authority area only when the Secretary of State has certified that no one in the area requires rented property. Despite the claims of Government supporters, the Labour party has never opposed home ownership, but we recognise that thousands of people have no homes and cannot afford to buy so that their best hope of securing accommodation is through the local authority.

As every hon. Member from such an area knows, there are thousands of people on council waiting lists in the large cities. Many people live in overcrowded conditions. Young people have to remain in accommodation with mothers, fathers, aunts, uncles and so on. Families are split up with one child in one place and another somewhere else. Thousands of people live in unfit homes and desperately need decent accommodation. [HON MEMBERS; "Rent-a-mob has arrived".] I appreciate my hon. Friends' support and I intend to ask them to vote for the amendment. [HON. MEMBERS: "Ah!"] I can throw my notes away now.

The amendment boils down to this. No local authority must be allowed to sell its homes until there is no longer anyone on its waiting list. Amendment No. 47 seeks to extend from two months to 12 months the period after which the Act comes into operation. I ask my hon. Friends to support the amendments.

Photo of Mr Robert Kilroy-Silk Mr Robert Kilroy-Silk , Knowsley North

We did not come here to listen to this one.

9.45 pm

Photo of Simon Hughes Simon Hughes Shadow Spokesperson (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)

I assumed that Labour Members had arrived in force to listen to my speech. I thought that it must be my Christmas bonus.

The Liberal party supports the amendments, although they are second best. It should be up to each local authority to decide whether the right to buy should apply in its area as it is the best judge of whether it has sufficient properties available. The amendment would at least make the Government start looking at the individual needs of local authorities. The same picture does not apply from Cornwall to Northumberland or from Liverpool to London. The sooner the Government realise that imposed centralised legislation, which will force local authorities to sell what would normally be considered their best housing stock and prevent people who are waiting for housing or are in local authority housing from moving to good quality accommodation — as much in small authorities with small amounts of public housing as in those with enormous amounts—the sooner they will be doing a service to public sector tenants and other tenants.

Sadly, the proposals fail. The amendment would improve the measure, although not nearly as democratically as we would wish.

Photo of Mr Ian Gow Mr Ian Gow , Eastbourne

The hon. Member for Southwark and Bermondsey (Mr. Hughes), who is the official spokesman of the Liberal party, and is supported by one of his hon. Friends—the hon. Member for Liverpool, Mossley Hill (Mr. Alton)—has confirmed yet again that the Liberal party is in favour both of the tenant's right to buy and of the local authorities' right to refuse to sell. That is the party's characteristic posture.

I am grateful to the hon. Member for Liverpool, Walton (Mr. Heffer) for the way in which he spoke to the amendments. However, they are wholly unacceptable to the Government, and. if I judge the mood of the House correctly, we should vote on them immediately.

Question put, That the amendment be made:—

The House divided: Ayes 154. Noes 240.

Division No. 119][9.45 pm
AYES
Adams, Allen (Paisley N)Freeson, Rt Hon Reginald
Alton, DavidGeorge, Bruce
Anderson, DonaldGod man, Dr Norman
Archer. Rt Hon PeterGolding, John
Ashton, JoeGould, Bryan
Atkinson, N. (Tottenham)Hamilton, James (M'well N)
Barnett, GuyHamilton, W. W. (Central Fife)
Barron, KevinHardy, Peter
Beith, A. J.Harman, Ms Harriet
Bell, StuartHart, Rt Hon Dame Judith
Bennett, A. (Dent'n & Red'sh)Haynes, Frank
Bidwell, SydneyHeffer, Eric S.
Blair, AnthonyHogg, N. (C'nauld & Kilsyth)
Boyes, RolandHolland, Stuart (Vauxhall)
Brown, Gordon (armline E)Hoyle, Douglas
Brown, Hugh D. (Provan)Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen N)
Brown, N. (N'c'tle-u-Tyne E)Hughes, Sean (Knowsley S)
Brown, Ron (E'burgh, Leith)Hughes, Simon (Southwark)
Caborn, RichardHume, John
Callaghan, Jim (Heyw'd & M)John, Brynmor
Carlile, Alexander (Montg'y)Kilroy-Silk, Robert
Clark, Dr David (S Shields)Kinnock, Rt Hon Neil
Clarke, ThomasKirkwood, Archibald
Clay, RobertLamond, James
Cocks, Rt Hon M. (Bristol S.)Leadbitter, Ted
Cohen. HarryLeighton, Ronald
Coleman, DonaldLewis, Ron (Carlisle)
Concannon, Rt Hon J. D.Lewis, Terence (Worsley)
Cook, Frank (Stockton North)Litherland, Robert
Cook, Robin F. (Livingston)Lloyd, Tony (Stretford)
Corbett, RobinLofthouse, Geoffrey
Corbyn, JeremyLoyden, Edward
Cowans, HarryMcCartney, Hugh
Cox, Thomas (Tooting)McDonald, Dr Oonagh
Craigen, J. M.McKay, Allen (Penistone)
Crowther, StanMcKelvey, William
Cunliffe, LawrenceMcNamara, Kevin
Davies, Rt Hon Denzil (L'lli)McTaggart, Robert
Davies, Ronald (Caerphilly)Madden, Max
Davis, Terry (B'ham, H'ge H'l)Marek, Dr John
Deakins, EricMartin, Michael
Dewar, DonaldMaxton, John
Dixon, DonaldMaynard, Miss Joan
Dobson, FrankMeacher, Michael
Dormand, JackMichie, William
Douglas, DickMikardo, Ian
Dubs, AlfredMilian, Rt Hon Bruce
Duffy, A. E. P.Miller, Dr M. S. (E Kilbride)
Dunwoody, Hon Mrs G.Mitchell, Austin (G't Grimsby)
Eadie, AlexMorris, Rt Hon A. (W'shawe)
Eastham, KenMorris, Rt Hon J. (Aberavon)
Evans, loan (Cynon Valley)Nellist, David
Evans, John (St. Helens N)O'Brien, William
Fatchett, DerekOrme, Rt Hon Stanley
Faulds, AndrewPark, George
Field, Frank (Birkenhead)Pavitt, Laurie
Fields, T. (L'pool Broad Gn)Penhaligon, David
Fisher, MarkPike, Peter
Flannery, MartinPowell, Raymond (Ogmore)
Foster, DerekPrescott, John
Foulkes, GeorgeRadice, Giles
Fraser, J. (Norwood)Redmond, M.
Rees, Rt Hon M. (Leeds S)Strang, Gavin
Roberts, Allan (Bootle)Straw, Jack
Robertson, GeorgeThomas, Dr R. (Carmarthen)
Robinson, G. (Coventry NW)Tinn, James
Rogers, AllanTorney, Tom
Ross, Ernest (Dundee W)Wainwright, R.
Rowlands, TedWardell, Gareth (Gower)
Sedgemore, BrianWareing, Robert
Sheldon, Rt Hon R.Wigley, Dafydd
Shore, Rt Hon PeterWilliams, Rt Hon A.
Short, Ms Clare (Ladywood)Winnick, David
Silkin, Rt Hon J.Woodall, Alec
Skinner, DennisYoung, David (Bolton SE)
Smith, C.(Isl'ton S & F'bury)
Smith, Rt Hon J. (M'kl'ds E)Tellers for the Ayes:
Soley, CliveMr. John Home-Robertson and
Spearing, NigelMr. John McWilliam
NOES
Adley, Robertdu Cann, Rt Hon Edward
Aitken, JonathanDunn, Robert
Alexander, RichardDurant, Tony
Amess, DavidDykes, Hugh
Ancram, MichaelEdwards, Rt Hon N. (P'broke)
Arnold, TomEggar, Tim
Ashby, DavidEmery, Sir Peter
Atkins, Rt Hon Sir H.Eyre, Reginald
Atkinson, David (B'm'th E)Favell, Anthony
Baker, Nicholas (N Dorset)Fenner, Mrs Peggy
Baldry, AnthonyFinsberg, Geoffrey
Banks, Robert (Harrogate)Fletcher, Alexander
Beaumont-Dark, AnthonyFookes, Miss Janet
Bellingham, HenryForsyth, Michael (Stirling)
Benyon, WilliamForth, Eric
Berry, Sir AnthonyFowler, Rt Hon Norman
Best, KeithFraser, Peter (Angus East)
Bevan, David GilroyFreeman, Roger
Biffen, Rt Hon JohnGale, Roger
Biggs-Davison, Sir JohnGalley, Roy
Blaker, Rt Hon Sir PeterGardner, Sir Edward (Fylde)
Body, RichardGarel-Jones, Tristan
Bonsor, Sir NicholasGlyn, Dr Alan
Boscawen, Hon RobertGoodhart, Sir Philip
Bottomley, PeterGoodlad, Alastair
Bowden, A. (Brighton K'to'n)Gow, Ian
Bowden, Gerald (Dulwich)Gower, Sir Raymond
Boyson, Dr RhodesGrant, Sir Anthony
Brandon-Bravo, MartinGreenway, Harry
Bright, GrahamGregory, Conal
Brittan, Rt Hon LeonGriffiths, E. (B'y St Edm'ds)
Brooke, Hon PeterGriffiths, Peter (Portsm'th N)
Brown, M. (Brigg & Cl'thpes)Ground, Patrick
Bruinvels, PeterGummer, John Selwyn
Buchanan-Smith, Rt Hon A.Hamilton, Hon A. (Epsom)
Budgen, NickHamilton, Neil (Tatton)
Bulmer, EsmondHanley, Jeremy
Burt, AlistairHargreaves, Kenneth
Butler, Hon AdamHarris, David
Butterfill, JohnHarvey, Robert
Carlisle, Kenneth (Lincoln)Hawkins, C. (High Peak)
Chalker, Mrs LyndaHawkins, Sir Paul (SW' N'folk)
Chapman, SydneyHawksley, Warren
Chope, ChristopherHayes, J.
Clark, Hon A. (Plym'th S'n)Hayhoe, Barney
Clark, Dr Michael (Rochford)Hayward, Robert
Clark, Sir W. (Croydon S)Heddle, John
Clarke Kenneth (Rushcliffe)Henderson, Barry
Clegg, Sir WalterHickmet, Richard
Cockeram, EricHiggins, Rt Hon Terence L.
Conway, DerekHind, Kenneth
Coombs, SimonHolland, Sir Philip (Gedling)
Cope, JohnHolt, Richard
Couchman, JamesHooson, Tom
Critchley, JulianHordern, Peter
Crouch, DavidHowarth, Alan (Straf'rd-on-A)
Currie, Mrs EdwinaHowarth, Gerald (Cannock)
Dicks, T.Hubbard-Miles, Peter
Dorrell, StephenHunt, David (Wirral)
Douglas-Hamilton, Lord J.Hunt, John (Ravensbourne)
Dover, DenshoreHunter, Andrew
Hurd, Rt Hon DouglasShersby, Michael
Jenkin, Rt Hon PatrickSilvester, Fred
Johnson-Smith, Sir GeoffreySims, Roger
Jones, Gwilym (Cardiff N)Skeet, T. H. H.
Jones, Robert (W Herts)Smith, Tim (Beaconsfield)
Jopling, Rt Hon MichaelSoames, Hon Nicholas
Kellett-Bowman, Mrs ElaineSpeed, Keith
Key, RobertSpencer, D.
King, Roger (B'ham N'field)Spicer, Jim (W Dorset)
Knight, Gregory (Derby N)Spicer, Michael (S Worcs)
Lamont, NormanSquire, Robin
Lang, IanStanbrook, Ivor
Lawler, GeoffreyStern, Michael
Lawrence, IvanStevens, Lewis (Nuneaton)
Lee, John (Pendle)Stewart, Allan (Eastwood)
Leigh, Edward (Gainsbor'gh)Stewart, Andrew (Sherwood)
Lester, JimStewart. Ian (N Hertf'dshire)
Lightbown, DavidStokes, John
Lilley, PeterStradling Thomas, J.
Lloyd, Ian (Havant)Sumberg, David
McCurley, Mrs AnnaTaylor, Rt Hon John David
MacKay, Andrew (Berkshire)Taylor, John (Solihull)
MacKay, John (Argyll & Bute)Taylor, Teddy (S'end E)
Maclean, David John.Temple-Morris, Peter
Macmillan, Rt Hon M.Terlezki, Stefan
McQuarrie, AlbertThomas, Rt Hon Peter
Malins, HumfreyThompson, Donald (Calder V)
Miller, Hal (B'grove)Thompson, Patrick (N'ich N)
Morris, M. (N'hampton, S)Thorne, Neil (Ilford S)
Moynihan, Hon C.Thornton, Malcolm
Murphy, ChristopherThurnham, Peter
Needham, RichardTracey, Richard
Neubert, MichaelTrippier, David
Newton, TonyTrotter, Neville
Normanton, TomTwinn, Dr Ian
Onslow, Cranleyvan Straubenzee, Sir W.
Parris, MatthewVaughan, Dr Gerard
Patten, Christopher (Bath)Viggers, Peter
Patten, John (Oxford)Waddington, David
Pawsey, JamesWakeham, Rt Hon John
Percival, Rt Hon Sir IanWaldegrave, Hon William
Pollock, AlexanderWalden, George
Powley, JohnWalker, Bill (T'side N)
Raffan, KeithWaller, Gary
Renton, TimWard, John
Rhodes James, RobertWardle, C. (Bexhill)
Rhys Williams, Sir BrandonWarren, Kenneth
Ridley, Rt Hon NicholasWatson, John
Ridsdale, Sir JulianWatts, John
Rippon, Rt Hon GeoffreyWells, Bowen (Hertford)
Roberts, Wyn (Conwy)Whitney, Raymond
Roe, Mrs MarionWolfson, Mark
Rossi, Sir HughWood, Timothy
Rumbold, Mrs AngelaWoodcock, Michael
Sackville, Hon ThomasYeo, Tim
Sayeed, JonathanYoung, Sir George (Acton)
Shaw, Giles (Pudsey)Younger, Rt Hon George
Shaw, Sir Michael (Scarb')
Shelton, William (Streatham)Tellers for the Noes:
Shepherd, Colin (Hereford)Mr. Douglas Hogg and
Shepherd, Richard (Aldridge)Mr. John Major.

Question accordingly negatived.