HC Deb 04 June 1980 vol 985 cc1419-20
24. Mr. Gwilym Roberts

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment, pursuant to his answer to the hon. Member for Cannock,Official Report, 26 March, column 585, what are the reasons why he will not seek powers to enable local authorities to publish and advertise details of privately-owned houses for sale within their area.

Mr. Stanley

Because ratepayers should not have to pay for unnecessary local authority expenditure.

Mr. Roberts

Does the Minister accept that in this period of financial stringency it is important to remove from house purchasers and sellers the necessity to make payments to parasitic house agents? Does he accept that in this way the local authority could effectively compete with estate agents by providing the service at no cost?

Mr. Stanley

I am glad to note the hon. Gentleman's enthusiasm for the involvement of local authorities in the sale of houses. However, I suggest that the priority for Labour councils such as Cannock is not getting into the business of selling houses they do not own, but getting on with selling the houses they do.