HC Deb 03 May 1955 vol 540 cc1484-5
10. Mr. Sorensen

asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government approximately how many local authorities have made available for purchase houses owned by them; and how many have been sold.

Mr. Sandys

Up to the end of March, 3,387 council houses have been sold by 288 local authorities in England and Wales.

Mr. Sorensen

Should I be correct in assuming that the anticipation on the part of some authorities was that a much larger percentage of tenants would apply for the purchase of their houses?

Mr. Sandys

I am afraid I cannot say what their assumptions were.

Mr. Gibson

Does not the Minister agree, in view of the hullabaloo made about this when the Government introduced its proposal to sell these houses, that these figures show what an enormous flop it has been?

Mr. Sandys

If I remember, much of the hullabaloo was made by the hon. Member.

Mr. Fernyhough

Having regard to the fact that in the Tory Party's Campaign Guide for 1955—the new encyclopaedia—page 190, it is stated that brick production has risen by only 7 per cent; and having regard to the fact that the right hon. Gentleman takes such pride in his house building achievements since 1951, can the Minister tell us what the Tory Government have neglected to build? If housing production has risen by so much while brick production has risen by only 7 per cent., what have the Government failed to build which they should have built?

Mr. Sandys

I cannot see the connection between the hon. Member's supplementary question and the Question on the Order Paper, but in view of it I think I am entitled to say that I regard it as inconceivable that any party with such a record should fail to be returned at the next General Election.