HC Deb 05 November 1979 vol 973 cc18-9
12. Sir Raymond Gower

asked the Secretary of State for Wales when he expects to introduce legislation to allow the tenants of housing association developments in Wales to purchase their homes on terms similar to those available for tenants of dwellings owned by local authorities.

Mr. Wyn Roberts

The housing Bill, which the Government will shortly introduce, will take into account the recommendations of a working partly which has been set up to consider the whole question of housing associations' involvement in home ownership.

Sir R. Gower

Will my hon. and right hon. Friends take account of the fact that many of the tenants of these associations feel that, as the money for building these dwellings comes from public funds, as does the money provided for local authority housing, they have been rather left out in the cold? They would also like the opportunity of exercising the privilege of home ownership.

Mr. Roberts

We shall certainly take that fact into account. My hon. Friend will be aware that it has been difficult to give tenants of housing association properties the right to buy because of the charitable status of those associations. The problems are not so great in allowing the associations to sell such properties. The working party is expected to report later this month and its recommendations will be reflected in the Housing Bill.

Mr. Ioan Evans

When consideration is given to the tenants of housing associations, will the tenants of private landlords also be considered?

Mr. Roberts

As the hon. Gentleman will realise if he reflects for a moment, there is a considerable difference between the public and the private sector. A great deal of taxpayers' money has been invested in public sector housing, which is not the case in the private sector. There are other differences, and the two sectors are not comparable.

Mr. Costain

Does my hon. Friend appreciate that a number of private landlords would be delighted to sell properties, for which they are getting such poor rents, on the same terms as councils are selling their houses?

Mr. Roberts

My hon. Friend is quite right. It has not been at all profitable for private landlords to let properties.

Mr. Alan Williams

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that there is considerable concern about the activities of the Cambrian housing association in my constituency, which has just arbitrarily announced an increase of 55 per cent. in its rents? Will the hon. Gentleman say what powers he has to set up an inquiry into these activities?

Mr. Roberts

Housing associations are very much under the wing of the Housing Corporation. The Welsh Office also has supervisory powers.