HC Deb 21 January 1965 vol 705 cc379-80
4. Mr. Box

asked the Secretary of State for Wales whether, in view of pending legislation to implement leasehold enfranchisement, he will issue a circular to Welsh local authorities recommending that they now offer freeholds to owner-occupiers wishing to purchase.

Mr. James Griffiths

No, Sir. I do not wish to anticipate the legislation to which my right hon. Friend the Minister of Housing and Local Government referred in his statement on 8th December last.

Mr. Box

Would not the right hon. Gentleman agree that it is quite scandalous that Socialist-controlled councils should continue to refuse to sell freeholds to owner-occupiers in Wales? Does not he agree that it would be a worth-while gesture if they were brought in line with private landlords in this respect? [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."] Will he give an assurance that the Government have no intention of going back on the declared statement of the Prime Minister that local authorities would be treated exactly the same as private landlords when the leasehold enfranchisement Bill is introduced?

Mr. Griffiths

The hon. Gentleman will have to await the presentation of that legislation. I am glad to be assured that we will have his full support when the Bill is brought forward.

Mr. Gower

In view of the substantial proportion of leasehold land in South Wales of which the freehold is owned by local authorities, will the right hon. Gentleman at least make representations to his right hon. Friend the Minister of Housing and Local Government that this land should be included in any Bill of this nature?

Mr. Griffiths

I have already informed the hon. Member for Cardiff, North (Mr. Box) that I do not propose to anticipate that legislation, which will be brought before the House in due course.