Statutory Tenants: Succession

Part of Clause 43 – in the House of Commons at 8:15 pm on 26th October 1988.

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Photo of Mrs Maria Fyfe Mrs Maria Fyfe , Glasgow Maryhill 8:15 pm, 26th October 1988

A constituent of mine gave up her home to go and care for an elderly relative. In this highly unusual case, when the elderly relative died my constituent then went to care for a sick and dying brother. She spent a considerable time away from her home and ended up losing it. What would happen to such a person under this legislation? She did not spend as much as two years with either person, yet had spent much time away from her home. She would lose her home and not gain the tenancy of her parent's or brother's homes.

My constituent had no work. She is too old to find work and lives on social security. In Glasgow's housing crisis she is at the tail end of a long waiting list. Has the Minister thought through the sort of cases that will occur in real life? Conservative Members must know from their surgeries that things like this happen. I can understand efforts being made to prevent people from jumping in cynically at the last minute by going to live with a sick and elderly relative in the hopes of succeeding to the tenancy, but two years is far too long. People may go for as little as six months in a genuine effort to care for an elderly relative and then have no right to succeed to the tenancy. That is wrong.

The Government have made great play of care in the community, of driving elderly people out of hospitals and into the community. That has meant that women with low-paid jobs or no jobs at all lose their homes. That cannot be the intention even of this Government. Surely they do not want to throw on to the streets women who have devoted years of their lives to caring for others.