HC Deb 15 December 1953 vol 522 cc191-2
38. Mr. Gower

asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government if he will take steps to ensure that more local authority house tenants are granted the rights, with proper safeguards for the councils concerned, to purchase the houses which they occupy as tenants.

Mr. H. Macmillan

I have given local authorities power to sell houses to their tenants. It is for them to decide whether and how they will use it, subject to the conditions of my circular.

Mr. Gower

Will the Minister not agree that it is unfortunate that in many cases people living in certain local authority areas have not the opportunities which are often given to people living in joint areas? Will he use his powers of persuasion in this matter?

Mr. Macmillan

I have taken the action which I think it is right to take, but I do still believe that the proper people to decide whether to use these powers are the local authorities themselves.

Mr. G. Thomas

Is the Minister aware that he can save his time so far as South Wales is concerned? Where these houses have been made available for the people there they have said, "No, thank you, they are much too dear and we would rather pay the rent."

Mr. Macmillan

Perhaps the hon. Member will use his influence to have them sold a little cheaper.

Mr. Pannell

May we have an assurance from the Minister that the long-term policy of the Government in regard to housing is not first to give local authorities the right to sell their best houses and then to become slum landlords?

Mr. Macmillan

I think that supplementary question is rather intended for the debates we are to have than for this Question.