HC Deb 07 February 1983 vol 36 cc621-2
13. Sir Raymond Gower

asked the Secretary of State for Wales what is his most recent estimate of the numbers of tenants of local authorities and of housing associations in Wales, who have purchased their dwellings since May 1979; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Wyn Roberts

Between May 1979 and September 1982, 22,293 local authority dwellings and 12 housing association dwellings were sold to tenants in Wales. A further 1,181 dwellings were sold by the Cwmbran development corporation and the Development Board for Rural Wales. These figures amply demonstrate the strong desire among public authority tenants to own their own homes. They underlie the Government's proposals in the Housing and Building Control Bill to extend the right to buy to others who have been excluded hitherto.

Sir Raymond Gower

Is my hon. Friend aware that this is much better than the report he gave me some months ago? Does he expect this good progress to continue?

Mr. Roberts

Certainly. By the end of September about 43 per cent. of the total number of applications had resulted in sales. We are, of course, continuing to monitor authorities to ensure that steady overall progress is made in Wales.

Mr. Anderson

Does the Minister recall the terms of a recent written reply to the effect that each local authority receives just over £3,000 for each unit of accommodation sold, yet has to spend in excess of £23,000 to replace that unit? How does that possibly make sense, and what lessons does the Welsh Office draw from this discrepancy?

Mr. Roberts

The hon. Gentleman knows, because I have told him and the House on many occasions, that simply because a council house is sold it does not mean that it is removed from the total housing stock. Of course, local authorities gain revenue from the sale of council houses that can be applied to meet housing needs.

Sir Anthony Meyer

Is my hon. Friend aware that I am receiving an increasing number of complaints from tenants who have tried to buy their council houses from the borough of Rhuddlan? If this authority is experiencing particular difficulties in maintaining the programme, will my hon. Friend arrange for it to receive advice and help as necessary?

Mr. Roberts

My hon. Friend is absolutely right. There is certainly room for improvement by a small number of authorities. I am afraid that I have to say that Rhuddlan is among those authorities.