HC Deb 03 February 1971 vol 810 cc1659-60
21. Mr. Galbraith

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland how the average price being obtained from the sale of council houses compares with the capitalised value of the rent of these houses after the cost of repair and maintenance has been deducted.

Mr. Younger

I regret that this information is not available.

Mr. Galbraith

On the information which is available to my hon. Friend, can he say whether the return from letting after deducting the cost of maintenance is more or less than the return on the capital if the house is sold? If it is more, would not such a sale release extra funds to help the needy? My hon. Friend must have some idea.

Mr. Younger

It is difficult to make a precise calculation, because each authority—and each house—is in different circumstances, but I am certain that my hon. Friend is correct in saying that in general it is in the interests both of the local authorities and the tenants for tenants who wish to do so to be allowed to purchase their houses.

Mr. John Smith

Will the hon. Gentleman tell the House what possible justification there is for a local authority selling council houses in an area where there is already an acute shortage of houses? Does not that mean, where there is such a shortage, that the Minister is selling houses over the heads of people who need them?

Mr. Younger

That is not necessarily the case. At present a council tenant has security of tenure for ever, and if he buys the house in which he is a tenant, there is no difference whatever in the housing stock. The only difference is that he buys the house instead of renting it.