HC Deb 15 December 1971 vol 828 cc430-1
2. Mr. McCrindle

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment which new town corporations are selling houses to sitting tenants at a discount; and what is the total amount of houses made available for home ownership from these bodies.

The Minister for Housing and Construction (Mr. Julian Amery)

All rented dwellings in English new towns, except for certain flats and old people's dwellings, can be bought by sitting tenants. There is a discount of 20 per cent. on the current market value with vacant possession except where this would bring the selling price below historic cost. By the end of October over 115,000 tenants had been notified of this offer; over 24,000 have so far expressed an interest in buying; 17,500 have received a priced offer and of these over 8,500 have agreed the price including over 1,100 who have bought.

Mr. McCrindle

Is my right hon. Friend aware that in the Basildon New Town in my constituency such has been the demand to buy corporation houses that there is now a considerable administrative log jam? Is there any temporary assistance which his Department might give, because people are becoming impatient at having to wait so long to purchase corporation properties?

Mr. Amery

Basildon has been peculiarly successful in the scheme which has been operated. In order to speed up the sales of houses Basildon Development Corporation does not require complete title but instead indemnifies purchasers against any claim arising from any defect in title which might appear in the future. This has been accepted both by building societies and by local solicitors on behalf of clients and is working outstandingly well

Mr. Allason

While warmly congratulating my right hon. Friend on his success, may I ask whether he is satisfied that there is sufficient opportunity for people over the age of 50 to buy their houses?

Mr. Amery

At the moment the demand is so strong that I hesitate to add any additional inducement to the scheme but I shall have my hon. Friend's point very much in mind.

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