§ 1. Vice-Admiral Hughes Hallett
asked the Minister of Housing and local Government and Minister for Welsh Affairs whether he is aware that some local authorities still operate their rules for residential qualifications in a way which can prevent people from getting on to any housing list for indefinite periods; and what advice he will give to local authorities in order to remedy this situation.
§ The Minister of Housing and Local Government and Minister for Welsh Affairs (Mr. Henry Brooke)
Local authorities have been advised on a number of occasions to admit to their waiting lists any applicants living or working in the district. Most authorities already do this. I realise that in areas of acute housing shortage, particularly where there is little or no building land left, a specifically residential qualification may be thought justifiable. I would, however, urge all local authorities to ensure that, whatever their system, no local applicant in genuine housing need is excluded from consideration.
§ Vice-Admiral Hughes Hallett
Whilst thanking my right hon. Friend for that reply, may I ask him whether he would not agree that with the gradually improving housing situation the necessity for these residential qualifications is departing and that they should now be drastically relaxed, if not abolished? In the meanwhile, can authorities to co-ordinate their policies so as to ensure at least the no people are removed from 201 one list before they have had time to qualify for another?
§ Mr. Brooke
I think that is desirable, though on the point of co-ordination I am sure my hon. and gallant Friend will realise that an authority with no building land left may look upon this subject rather differently from an authority which has still got ample building land. The Central Housing Advisory Committee published a report some years ago urging no local authority to have a residential qualification period in excess of twelve months.
§ Mr. M. Stewart
As long as the effect of Government policy is to reduce the number of houses built by local authorities, is it very much use extending the number of names on housing lists?
§ Mr. Brooke
I am sure the hon. Gentleman is quite aware that the number of houses built by local authorities is now on the upgrade.