HC Deb 08 July 1970 vol 803 cc649-51
10. Dr. Miller

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will undertake to refuse permission to Glasgow Corporation for the sale of corporation houses.

12. Mr. Small

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what guidance he is giving to local authorities to obtain the market value in selling council houses.

Mr. Gordon Campbell

I intend very soon to send a circular to local housing authorities, including Glasgow Corporation, informing them that I will grant consent for the sale of council houses unless in any particular case there are special reasons for refusing it, and prescribing conditions of sale, including the price to be charged.

Dr. Miller

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the stress should be the other way round, and that it is only if special conditions prevail that council houses should be permitted to be sold and that in circumstances such as those prevailing in Glasgow the vast majority of the people require houses to let and not houses for sale? Is he aware that as the selling of corporation houses does not provide a single extra house—and this is an important aspect of it—this is a situation which he as a responsible Secretary of State ought not to permit in a city like Glasgow?

Mr. Speaker

Long supplementary questions mean fewer Questions.

Mr. Campbell

If the sale is to a sitting tenant, the housing situation is not affected, but the extra resources which may be made available when the house is paid for enable the local authority to do more to help the homeless. I am carrying out precisely the policy which I have been advocating for four years, whereas right hon. Gentlemen opposite have recently been standing on their heads.

Mr. Small

Is the Secretary of State aware that his decision is deplorable? Will he assure us that the figures of the prices obtained for council houses will be made public at regular intervals?

Mr. Campbell

All this will be taken into account. These matters will be considered in the course of the framing of the circular and in further consultations.

Mr. Clark Hutchison

This is an excellent policy that will provide more finance. Will my right hon. Friend press Edinburgh to get on with the job of selling such houses as soon as possible?

Mr. Campbell

It is for the local authorities to put their proposals to me, and unless there are exceptional circumstances I will approve them. This is one part of our policy to encourage home ownership.

Mr. Ross

How can the right hon. Gentleman try to justify his right to do this, and particularly to send it to Glasgow on the basis that he proclaimed it as his policy in Scotland, when in Glasgow Labour won 13 out of 15 Parliamentary seats and the party opposite won two? In any case, will he tell me how the withdrawal of a house from the letting pool can possibly be relevant to the solution of Glasgow's housing problem?

Mr. Campbell

After this policy has been operating for a bit the number of seats will be changed considerably. How the right hon. Gentleman has the barefaced temerity to say this when it was his Government that refused to put into action the Parliamentary Boundary Commission's recommendations, I cannot think.