HC Deb 02 December 1987 vol 123 c928
17. Mr. John Hunt

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what specific encouragement he is proposing to give to housing associations, building societies and other financial institutions to develop shared ownership schemes particularly in the Greater London area; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Waldegrave

The provisions of the Housing and Planning Act 1986, designed to make it easier for shared ownership to be entirely privately financed, have just been laid before the House. We take every opportunity to promote shared ownership schemes.

Mr. Hunt

I welcome that reply. Is my hon. Friend aware that for young people in my constituency such a scheme offers the only real chance that many of them will ever have of getting their foot on the home ownership ladder? Therefore, will he try to instil a greater sense of urgency and priority into the agencies to which the Government are looking to provide such schemes?

Mr. Waldegrave

I agree with the spirit of what my hon. Friend said. To be fair, local authorities and housing associations have made considerable use of the shared ownership route in recent years. On the private sector, I pay tribute to the main building society that has been involved, the Halifax. It has been trying to develop schemes. We could do with many more schemes from the private sector.

Sir George Young

In view of the buoyancy of house prices in London, will my hon. Friend reconsider the house price limits that apply to shared ownership schemes and see whether local authority, do-it-yourself shared ownership has been accidentally precluded by the recently published Housing Bill?

Mr. Waldegrave

I shall certainly consider my hon. Friend's question. I draw attention to the new scheme that is being tried out in Tower Hamlets, where the local authority and private developers are putting together self-build schemes. They have rather the same effect and are very interesting.