Local Authority Leaseholders

Oral Answers to Questions — Environment – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 18th January 1995.

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Photo of Neil Gerrard Neil Gerrard , Walthamstow 12:00 am, 18th January 1995

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will introduce measures to assist local authority leaseholders who are encountering difficulty selling their homes.

Photo of David Curry David Curry , Skipton and Ripon

I hope to introduce a revised scheme in the spring.

Photo of Neil Gerrard Neil Gerrard , Walthamstow

That is welcome news. Is the Minister aware that council leaseholders are lobbying here this afternoon and that they have only invited Tory Members as they think that Tory Members need educating about the effects of believing Government propaganda about buying their flats? Some local authorities are willing in principle to buy back the flats of people who were persuaded by the Government to buy their flats and who now find that they cannot sell them, but the authorities cannot because they do not have the capital. Is it not about time that those people were given some help to get out of the trap in which they have found themselves?

Photo of David Curry David Curry , Skipton and Ripon

The hon. Gentleman ought to know that the Government are concerned about the position of leaseholders who are unable to raise mortgages on properties which they have bought. We are working hard on a scheme to introduce a more flexible form of agreement which local authorities can use to assist in the sale of flats by indemnifying commercial mortgage lending to new purchasers. We are also looking at an exchange sales scheme to help local authorities to Cake back certain flats which have been affected by mortgageability difficulties in exchange for selling leaseholders another home more suitable for their needs.

Photo of Miss Betty Boothroyd Miss Betty Boothroyd Speaker of the House of Commons

Mr. David Tredinnick. Mr. John Spellar. Mr. Rhodri Morgan. Mr. John Battle. It is a total disgrace that Members are absent without apologising either to the Minister or to me.