New Protected Tenancies and Agricultural, Occupancies Restricted to Special Cases

Part of Orders of the Day — Clause 32 – in the House of Commons at 7:45 pm on 13th June 1988.

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Photo of Mr William Waldegrave Mr William Waldegrave , Bristol West 7:45 pm, 13th June 1988

Though I would put the rhetorical points differently, I can agree wholeheartedly with a lot of what the hon. Member for Hammersmith (Mr. Soley) said. That is that no one wants the housing association movement to move away from doing the job for which it has been funded under both Labour and Conservative Governments. We want it to do more. I do not think that anyone would thank me for widening this point into a general debate about housing associations, which we shall be coming to later. However, there are one or two points to deal with now.

As my hon. Friend the Member for Leeds, North-East (Mr. Kirkhope) said, it is right that the experimental mixed-funding scheme is a small part of the funding of the Housing Corporation. About £60 million has been put into the scheme and there have been £700 million worth of bids from interested housng associations. That shows the amount of interest that there is in the scheme. I do not believe that the people who have put forward those bids —some of whom are in my hon. Friend's part of the country—are departing from their traditions. They are seeking to make the money go further and have more useful, low-cost housng built, which is the objective of all of us. I do not disagree with what the hon. Member for Hammersmith said. The House would want to know if the subsidies did not produce housing at low market rents. That is clearly what they are meant to achieve. We shall continue the subsidies.

I can dispose of one small point that the hon. Member of Hammersmith raised.