HC Deb 04 March 1986 vol 93 cc224-9

Amendments made: No. 15, in page 21, line 38, after 'charity', insert '—(i)'. No. 16, in page 21, line 41, leave out '." and (g)' and insert'; or (ii) which but for section 4(4) of, and paragraph (g) of the Second Schedule to, that Act (exempt charities) would require to be so entered; or (f) where by virtue of section 49(2) of the said Act of 1960 (extent) a landlord so mentioned is not one to which Part II of that Act (registration of charities etc.) applies, but—

  1. (i) the landlord has, in respect of all periods from 3 October 1980, claimed and been granted (whether or not retrospectively), under section 360(1) of the Income and Corporation Taxes Act 1970 (special exemptions for charities), exemption from tax; and
  2. (ii) the rules of the landlord, registered under the Industrial and Provident Societies Act 1965 and in force at the date of the landlord's first being registered by the Housing Corporation, were such as would have admitted of such exemption had it been claimed as at the said date of registration; or
(g) where, within a neighbourhood, the dwelling-house is one of a number (not exceeding 14) of dwelling-houses with a common landlord, being a landlord so mentioned, and it is the practice of that landlord to let at least one half of those dwelling houses for occupation by any or all of the following—
  1. (i) persons who have suffered from or are suffering from mental disorder (as defined in the Mental Health (Scotland) Act 1984), physical handicap or addiction to alcohol or other drugs;
  2. (ii) persons who have been released from prison or other institutions;
  3. (iii) young persons who have left the care of a local authority, and a social service is, or special facilities are, provided wholly or partly for the purpose of assisting those persons.";

(g) after subsection (11) there shall be inserted the following subsections— ()1A) The Secretary of State may by order amend, or add to, the list of classes set out in sub-paragraphs (i) to (ii) of paragraph (g) of subsection (11) above. (11B) The Commissioners of Inland Revenue shall, as regards any registered housing association, at the request of the Secretary of State, provide him and the Housing Corporation with such information as will enable them to determine whether that association is a landlord in respect of which this section will not, by virtue of subsection (11)(f) above, apply; and where a registered housing association is refused exemption on a claim under section 360(1) of the Income and Corporation Taxes Act 1970 the Commissioners shall forthwith inform the Secretary of State and the Housing Corporation of that fact. (11C) Where information has been received by the Housing Corporation under subsection (11B) above and having regard to that information the Corporation is satisfied that the housing association to which it relates is not a landlord in respect of which this section applies, they shall make an entry to that effect in the register of housing associations maintained by them under section 3(1) of the Housing Association Act 1985, and they shall cancel that entry where subsequent information so received in relation to that housing association is inconsistent with their being so satisfied."; and (h)'.

No. 19, in page 25, line 39, leave out '18' and insert '16'.

No. 20, in line 40, at end insert— '(bb) whether, or to what value, the applicant or any of his family owns or has owned (or any of them own or have owned) heritable or moveable property; or'.

No. 21, in line 44, at end insert; or (d) whether the applicant is living with, or in the same dwelling-house as—

  1. (i) his spouse; or
  2. (ii) a person with whom he has been living as husband and wife.'.

No. 22, in page 26, line 28, leave out from 'area' to; and' in line 33 and insert '; or (ii) any of the matters mentioned in paragraphs (a) to (c) of section 26(1) of this Act'.

No. 23, in line 34, after 'requirement', insert`—(i)'.

No. 24, in line 37, after 'period', insert; or

  1. (ii) that a divorce or judicial separation be obtained; or
  2. (iii) that the applicant no longer be living with, or in the same dwelling-house as, some other person,'.—[Mr.Ancram.]

Motion made, and Question proposed, That the Bill be now read the Third time.—[Mr. Ancram]

8.36 pm
Mr. Maxton

I shall be brief, but I wish to make it clear that, while the Government have made some concessions for charities and special need housing, the basic objection to extending to tenants of housing associations the right to buy, especially to community housing associations, still remains.

We object strongly to the changes that the Government are making to discount arrangements both in raising the percentages for flats and in reducing the repayment period for that discount from five years to three. We do not believe that those changes are necessary. They are part of a sell-off. They demonstrate the Government's great ideological desire to get rid of every council house that they possibly can. This is the only part of their housing policy that is not directed to the cutting of housing expenditure. Against this background, I shall be asking my right hon. and hon. Friends to vote against the Bill's Third Reading.

8.38 pm
Sir Russell Johnston

I shall ask my right hon. and hon. Friends to vote against the Bill's Third Reading. We are not opposed to the right to buy. We shall oppose Third Reading because it is our view that this measure could blight the remarkable progress of the housing associations, which have done so much to provide houses for those who would otherwise not have them, and to make improvements where improvements would not have been made, as well as filling a continuing gap between the private and public sectors in housing provision. We accept the right to buy, but we believe that there is a right to rent.

8.39 pm
Mr. Alexander Eadie (Midlothian)

We have been asked to give a Third Reading to a Bill which only tinkers with the problems of housing in Scotland. It refers to the sale of houses and the role of housing associations but it hides what is happening—for example, how vast sums are being extracted from the public purse for private gain. I am thinking of Newton Grange in my constituency, where many think that what is happening borders on a public scandal. I refer to the former 550 National Coal Board houses at Newton Grange, which were on land leased from the Lothian estates by the board. When, in 1983, the lease expired, the land and properties reverted to Lothian estates. It is not disputed that many of the houses needed substantial improvement. Despite repeated questions to the Government and the NCB, I have never been able to discover whether Lothian estates acquired all of that property without payment. The secrecy of the matter brings me to the reasonable conclusion that there is something to hide.

Mr. Deputy Speaker

Order. I must remind the hon. Gentleman that on Third Reading we must confine ourselves to what is in the Bill. The hon. Gentleman is going well outside the Bill.

Mr. Eadie

I intend to speak for only a few minutes and I believe that the House will realise that what I am saying is in order.

The case that I am outlining illustrates that the arguments used in support of the Bill are defective. In March 1984, the Housing Corporation approved funds for rehabilitation by Castle Rock housing association of 119 houses in the Newton Grange No. 1 housing action area. It is public knowledge that Lothian estates acquired a small fortune as a result of the Castle Rock housing association's decision. I do not criticise that, but Lothian estates paid little or nothing for the properties and demanded more than £300,000 for the properties which the Castle Rock housimg association proposed to rehabilitate. Housing associations are mentioned in the Bill. The Castle Rock housing association eventually paid £209,750 for the properties in the housing action area.

Mr. Deputy Speaker

Order. I find it extremely difficult to relate what the hon. Gentleman is telling the House to what is in the Bill.

Mr. Eadie

The Bill affects the funding of housing associations and how public money will be disbursed. I am therefore entitled to speak on behalf of my constituents and to say that the Bill should not receive a Third Reading.

Lothian estates acquired a small fortune of public money perfectly legally, but the circumstances surrounding the sale are of dubious propriety, to put it mildly. It is not that Lothian estates is a good landlord. When pressed about the dubious propriety of its actions, it oozes a spirit of benevolence. I have had many letters from constituents. I draw the Minister's attention to Mrs. Young of 47, The Square, Newton Grange because the House is entitled to know that the public purse has been robbed. The Minister happens to be the son and heir of Lothian estates, and therefore of the public money to which I have referred. We are entitled to know why he is piloting the Bill through and why he has the right to pilot it through, as he will get some of the money I have mentioned.

This is a disgraceful Bill in many respects. It will riot solve Scotland's housing problems and it will merely transfer housing from public to private hands. It is more concerned with profit than housing and I hope that the House will not give it a Third Reading. I also hope that the Minister will have the decency to say what is his vested interest and why he is taking the Bill through the House as a landlord who stands to gain substantial sums of money.

8.44 pm
Mr. Ancram

When the hon. Member for Midlothian (Mr. Eadie) considers that speech in the cold light of day, he may feel that his remarks were unworthy. Listening to the political prejudice enunciated by the spokesmen for the Liberal party and for the Labour party strengthens my view that the Bill is good for tenants and good for housing in Scotland, and I ask my right hon. and hon. Friends to support it.

Question put, That the Bill be now read the Third time:—

The House divided: Ayes 196, Noes 138.

Division No. 91] [8.45 pm
Alison, Rt Hon Michael Hayes, J.
Ancram, Michael Heathcoat-Amory, David
Bevan, David Gilroy Hickmet, Richard
Biggs-Davison, Sir John Hicks, Robert
Blackburn, John Hirst, Michael
Boscawen, Hon Robert Holt, Richard
Braine, Rt Hon Sir Bernard Howarth, Alan (Stratf'd-on-A)
Brooke, Hon Peter Howarth, Gerald (Cannock)
Brown, M. (Brigg & Cl'thpes) Howell, Ralph (Norfolk, N)
Buchanan-Smith, Rt Hon A. Hubbard-Miles, Peter
Butcher, John Hunt, David (Wirral W)
Carlisle, John (Luton N) Hunt, John (Ravensbourne)
Carlisle, Kenneth (Lincoln) Jenkin, Rt Hon Patrick
Carttiss, Michael Johnson Smith, Sir Geoffrey
Cash, William Jones, Robert (Herts W)
Clark, Dr Michael (Rochford) Kellett-Bowman, Mrs Elaine
Colvin, Michael King, Roger (B'ham N'field)
Cope, John Knight, Greg (Derby N)
Cormack, Patrick Knowles, Michael
Corrie, John Knox, David
Couchman, James Lamont, Norman
Currie, Mrs Edwina Lang, Ian
Dicks, Terry Latham, Michael
Dorrell, Stephen Lawler, Geoffrey
Douglas-Hamilton, Lord J. Lawrence, Ivan
Dunn, Robert Lennox-Boyd, Hon Mark
Durant, Tony Lester, Jim
Dykes, Hugh Lightbown, David
Eggar, Tim Lilley, Peter
Fallon, Michael Lloyd, Peter (Fareham)
Farr, Sir John Lord, Michael
Favell, Anthony Lyell, Nicholas
Finsberg, Sir Geoffrey McCrindle, Robert
Forman, Nigel McCurley, Mrs Anna
Forsyth, Michael (Stirling) Macfarlane, Neil
Forth, Eric MacGregor, Rt Hon John
Fowler, Rt Hon Norman MacKay, Andrew (Berkshire)
Fox, Marcus MacKay, John (Argyll & Bute)
Franks, Cecil Maclean, David John
Fraser, Peter (Angus East) McNair-Wilson, M. (N'bury)
Gale, Roger Madel, David
Galley, Roy Major, John
Gardiner, George (Reigate) Malins, Humfrey
Garel-Jones, Tristan Marland, Paul
Gilmour, Rt Hon Sir Ian Marlow, Antony
Glyn, Dr Alan Mather, Carol
Goodhart, Sir Philip Maxwell-Hyslop, Robin
Gower, Sir Raymond Mellor, David
Gregory, Conal Merchant, Piers
Griffiths, Sir Eldon Miller, Hal (B'grove)
Griffiths, Peter (Portsm'th N) Mills, Iain (Meriden)
Grist, Ian Moate, Roger
Grylls, Michael Monro, Sir Hector
Gummer, Rt Hon John S Montgomery, Sir Fergus
Hamilton, Hon A. (Epsom) Moore, Rt Hon John
Hamilton, Neil (Tatton) Morrison, Hon C. (Devizes)
Hampson, Dr Keith Mudd, David
Hanley, Jeremy Neale, Gerrard
Hargreaves, Kenneth Needham, Richard
Harris, David Nelson, Anthony
Haselhurst, Alan Neubert, Michael
Hawkins, C. (High Peak) Newton, Tony
Normanton, Tom Spicer, Michael (S Worcs)
Onslow, Cranley Stanbrook, Ivor
Oppenheim, Phillip Stern, Michael
Ottaway, Richard Stevens, Lewis (Nuneaton)
Page, Richard (Herts SW) Stewart, Allan (Eastwood)
Parkinson, Rt Hon Cecil Stewart, Andrew (Sherwood)
Patten, Christopher (Bath) Stradling Thomas, Sir John
Pawsey, James Sumberg, David
Peacock, Mrs Elizabeth Taylor, John (Solihull)
Porter, Barry Terlezki, Stefan
Portillo, Michael Thomas, Rt Hon Peter
Powley, John Thompson, Donald (Calder V)
Prentice, Rt Hon Reg Thompson, Patrick (N'ich N)
Proctor, K. Harvey Thornton, Malcolm
Raffan, Keith Thurnham, Peter
Rhys Williams, Sir Brandon Trotter, Neville
Ridsdale, Sir Julian Twinn, Dr Ian
Rifkind, Rt Hon Malcolm Waddington, David
Rippon, Rt Hon Geoffrey Walker, Bill (T'side N)
Roberts, Wyn (Conwy) Wall, Sir Patrick
Robinson, Mark (N'port W) Waller, Gary
Rost, Peter Wardle, C. (Bexhill)
Rowe, Andrew Watts, John
Ryder, Richard Wells, Bowen (Hertford)
Sainsbury, Hon Timothy Wells, Sir John (Maidstone)
Sayeed, Jonathan Wheeler, John
Shaw, Giles (Pudsey) Whitfield, John
Shaw, Sir Michael (Scarb') Winterton, Mrs Ann
Shelton, William (Streatham) Wolfson, Mark
Shepherd, Colin (Hereford) Wood, Timothy
Shepherd, Richard (Aldridge) Woodcock, Michael
Shersby, Michael Yeo, Tim
Sims, Roger Young, Sir George (Acton)
Skeet, Sir Trevor Younger, Rt Hon George
Smith, Tim (Beaconsfield)
Soames, Hon Nicholas Tellers for the Ayes:
Speed, Keith Mr. Francis Maude and
Spencer, Derek Mr. Gerald Malone.
Adams, Allen (Paisley N) Duffy, A. E. P.
Alton, David Dunwoody, Hon Mrs G.
Anderson, Donald Eadie, Alex
Archer, Rt Hon Peter Eastham, Ken
Atkinson, N. (Tottenham) Edwards, Bob (W'h'mpt'n SE)
Barron, Kevin Evans, John (St. Helens N)
Beckett, Mrs Margaret Fatchett, Derek
Beith, A. J. Faulds, Andrew
Bidwell, Sydney Field, Frank (Birkenhead)
Boyes, Roland Fields, T. (L'pool Broad Gn)
Bray, Dr Jeremy Fisher, Mark
Brown, Gordon (D'f'mline E) Flannery, Martin
Brown, Hugh D. (Provan) Foot, Rt Hon Michael
Brown, N. (N'c'tle-u-Tyne E) Foster, Derek
Brown, Ron (E'burgh, Leith) Foulkes, George
Bruce, Malcolm Freeson, Rt Hon Reginald
Buchan, Norman George, Bruce
Callaghan, Jim (Heyw'd & M) Godman, Dr Norman
Campbell-Savours, Dale Golding, John
Canavan, Dennis Gourlay, Harry
Carlile, Alexander (Montg'y) Hamilton, W. W. (Fife Central)
Carter-Jones, Lewis Hardy, Peter
Clark, Dr David (S Shields) Harrison, Rt Hon Walter
Clarke, Thomas Hart, Rt Hon Dame Judith
Clay, Robert Haynes, Frank
Clelland, David Gordon Hogg, N. (C'nauld & Kilsyth)
Clwyd, Mrs Ann Home Robertson, John
Cocks, Rt Hon M. (Bristol S) Howells, Geraint
Cook, Frank (Stockton North) Hoyle, Douglas
Cook, Robin F. (Livingston) Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen N)
Corbett, Robin Hughes, Sean (Knowsley S)
Craigen, J. M. Hughes, Simon (Southwark)
Cunliffe, Lawrence Janner, Hon Greville
Dalyell, Tam John, Brynmor
Davies, Ronald (Caerphilly) Johnston, Sir Russell
Dewar, Donald Jones, Barry (Alyn & Deeside)
Dixon, Donald Kennedy, Charles
Dormand, Jack Kirkwood, Archy
Douglas, Dick Lambie, David
Dubs, Alfred Lamond, James
Leadbitter, Ted Redmond, Martin
Lewis, Terence (Worsley) Rees, Rt Hon M. (Leeds S)
Livsey, Richard Richardson, Ms Jo
Lloyd, Tony (Stretford) Roberts, Allan (Bootle)
Lofthouse, Geoffrey Robinson, G. (Coventry NW)
Loyden, Edward Rogers, Allan
McDonald, Dr Oonagh Ross, Ernest (Dundee W)
McKelvey, William Rowlands, Ted
MacKenzie, Rt Hon Gregor Short, Ms Clare (Ladywood)
McTaggart, Robert Silkin, Rt Hon J.
Madden, Max Skinner, Dennis
Marshall, David (Shettleston) Snape, Peter
Martin, Michael Soley, Clive
Mason, Rt Hon Roy Spearing, Nigel
Maxton, John Stewart, Rt Hon D. (W Isles)
Maynard, Miss Joan Stott, Roger
Meacher, Michael Strang, Gavin
Meadowcroft, Michael Thomas, Dafydd (Merioneth)
Michie, William Thompson, J. (Wansbeck)
Mikardo, Ian Thorne, Stan (Preston)
Millan, Rt Hon Bruce Tinn, James
Morris, Rt Hon J. (Aberavon) Wainwright, R.
Nellist, David Welsh, Michael
O'Brien, William White, James
O'Neill, Martin Wigley, Dafydd
Orme, Rt Hon Stanley Wilson, Gordon
Park, George Winnick, David
Patchett, Terry
Pavitt, Laurie Tellers for the Noes:
Pike, Peter Mr. James Hamilton and
Powell, Raymond (Ogmore) Mr. Allen McKay.

Question accordingly agreed to.

Bill accordingly read the Third time and passed.