Housing Transfers

Oral Answers to Questions — Scotland – in the House of Commons at 2:30 pm on 28th June 1995.

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Photo of Mr George Foulkes Mr George Foulkes , Carrick, Cumnock and Doon Valley 2:30 pm, 28th June 1995

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland which councils in Scotland are considering transferring or have transferred the ownership of (a) any or (b) all of their housing stock to housing associations; and if he will make a statement. [29378]

Photo of Lord James Douglas-Hamilton Lord James Douglas-Hamilton , Edinburgh West

Since 1989, 27 councils in Scotland have received consents to transfer more than 13,000 houses to the private sector, mainly to housing associations. I will have the names of the authorities concerned printed in the Official Report.

A further three councils—Berwickshire, Wigtown and Nithsdale—are currently considering transferring all their stock to local housing associations.

Photo of Mr George Foulkes Mr George Foulkes , Carrick, Cumnock and Doon Valley

Will the Minister confirm that Wigtown district council, in the Secretary of State's constituency, plans to transfer all its council housing stock to a private housing association, whose chairman is chairman of the council housing committee and whose secretary is the council's housing officer, using public money? Is that not the type of corruption that ought to be investigated, if not by Professor Black, certainly by the district auditor?

Photo of Lord James Douglas-Hamilton Lord James Douglas-Hamilton , Edinburgh West

As the hon. Gentleman will appreciate, the councils are independent of the Government. Whatever proposals are made will eventually have to come before the Secretary of State for approval, but the first and most important hurdle is for the tenants themselves to vote. If a majority vote against the proposal, that will kill it stone dead. The advantages for tenants, including those in the 13,000 houses mentioned, include a lower rent path, accelerated investment in their housing and increased scope for tenant involvement in housing management. There has also been a greater benefit for the public sector because it has led to reinvestment in additional social housing. As I have said, the matter will come before the Secretary of State in due course and he will look at it with complete objectivity.

Following is the information:

Councils which, since January 1989, have been granted consents under section 12(7) of the Housing (Scotland) Act 1987, to transfer housing to the private sector Angus district council Argyll and Bute district council Banff and Buchan district council Clydebank district council Clydesdale district council Cunninghame district council Dumbarton district council Dundee district council East Lothian district council Edinburgh district council Glasgow district council Hamilton district council Inverclyde district council Kilmarnock district council Kirkcaldy district council Monklands district council Motherwell district council Nithsdale district council North East Fife district council Orkney Islands council Perth and Kinross district council Renfrew district council Ross and Cromarty district council Stirling district council Strathkelvin district council Tweeddale district council West Lothian district council.