HC Deb 26 October 1988 vol 139 cc377-88

Lords amendment: No. 42, in page 33, line 32, leave out as determined by the district valuer

8.30 pm
Lord James Douglas-Hamilton

I beg to move, That this House doth agree with the Lords in the said amendment.

Mr. Deputy Speaker

With this it will be convenient to consider Lords amendments Nos. 43 and 44.

Lord James Douglas-Hamilton

During consideration of the Bill in another place, there was much debate about whether there should be an avenue of appeal against the valuation determined by the district valuer on a property to be transferred under the tenants' choice provisions in part III. While it was not considered appropriate that there should be a right of appeal after a valuation has been made, it was accepted that it would be desirable to bring tenants' choice valuation procedures more closely into line with those in the right-to-buy legislation. The amendments made in the other place offer a choice between the district valuer and another qualified valuer nominated by the landlord, but acceptable to the applicant. Amendment No. 43 also clarifies that it is for the landlord to decide whether it should be the district valuer or another qualified valuer who should determine the market value. I commend the amendments to the House.

Question put and agreed to.

Lords amendments Nos. 43 and 44 agreed to.

Lords amendment: No. 45, in page 34, line 3, at end insert—

"( ) Where the circumstances are such that, on the relevant date, a house, if offered for sale in accordance with subsection (6) above, would not realise any price then—

  1. (a) for the purposes of that subsection, the price shall be taken to be—
    1. (i) such amount as would require to be paid to Scottish Homes or a person who, on the 378 relevant date, was approved under section 54 above in order that it or she would willingly so acquire the house, expressed as a negative; or
    2. (ii) where Scottish Homes or that person would willingly so acquire it for no consideration, nil;
  2. (b) the market value of the house may be deterniined under that subsection to be a negative value or nil;
  3. (c) where the market value is so determined, the reference in subsection (5) above to a price equal to the market value shall be construed accordingly and references in this section to selling a house and the purchaser of it shall be construed respectively as references to disposing of it and the acquirer of it; and
  4. (d) where, by virtue of paragraph (c) above, the price of the house is in the negative, the obligation to pay shall be upon the landlord."

Lord James Douglas-Hamilton

I beg to move, That this House doth agree with the Lords in the said amendment.

The main purpose of the amendment is to clarify that the property transferring under the tenants' choice provisions in part III can have not only a positive or zero value but, on occasions, a negative value.

Most houses in the public sector in Scotland have been maintained to a reasonable standard and are likely, therefore, under tenants' choice, to attract a positive value on transfer. However, there are some tenanted properties where this is not so, and these properties now need significant renovation to bring them up to the desired standard. In the very worst of such housing, it is possible that the cost to a potential new landlord of bringing the property into a reasonable state of repair could exceed the value of the property after the necessary renovation had been effected. In such cases few, if any, new landlords would be willing to participate in the acquisition of public sector housing under the powers in part III of the Bill, or would be willing to do so only in return for rent payments well above the going rate for such housing, and therefore well above the level that the tenant could afford to pay.

One can well imagine that it will be those tenants in local authority housing which is in the worst state of repair and who are least satisfied with the service provided by the local authority who will be most willing to contemplate a change of landlord. Therefore, the tenants' choice provisions should be especially attractive to such tenants. There should be no artificial barriers to such transfers proceeding. If we did not specifically permit negative valuations, and if we did not oblige local authorities to make payments equivalent to the amount of the negative valuation, the result would be an impediment to transfers.

I have considered the position from the point of view of the local authority or other public sector landlord whose tenants wish to transfer. Such landlords may argue that having to pay some new landlord to take away their housing would be a quite unacceptable form of asset stripping. I do not accept that, because if a house is in such a poor state of repair that it would cost more to renovate than the house would be worth when the work is done, the house in its present state is clearly a liability. In such circumstances, rent payments by tenants are probably insufficient to cover the cost of maintenance work necessary to prevent the housing deteriorating further. Moreover, in fulfilling its duties to the tenants the local authority would inevitably soon have to spend substantial sums to bring the property up to standard. By transferring the house to a new landlord the local authority is relieving itself of the liability to meet such costs. The concept of negative valuations is therefore sensible, and fair to all parties.

Mr. Home Robertson

This is an outrageous proposition and the Minister should be ashamed of himself for reading a brief of such nonsense. There is an urgent need for investment in public sector housing to rent and a need for investment in house building because as many as 30,000 people become homeless in Scotland every year. It is an outrageous proposition in view of the huge waiting list for public sector housing to rent. Shelter estimates that as many as 192,000 Scots are now waiting for houses. All that the Government can think of doing is to siphon money out of the public sector housing budget so that they can pay private sector landlords to take over public sector property.

There is a desperate need for investment but there are many calls on the budgets of local housing authorities and it cannot make sense to raid those budgets for the Government's purposes. The Government are legislating to require local authorities to pay speculators to take over housing stocks. That is an interesting new twist to the concept of expropriation without compensation and we should reflect on that idea in connection with the case for the acquisition of private sector housing stock. There is a great deal of substandard and empty private sector housing in Scotland, but the Government are under the happy illusion that it will all he renovated and let under this legislation. I suspect that that will not happen.

Perhaps we should pursue the precedent being set by this provision and think about taking empty substandard private sector housing stock into public ownership under the housing action area procedure. As far as I know that is still on the statute book. Perhaps we should go the whole hog and require private landlords to pay the local authority for bringing houses up to standard. That is the precedent that the Government are setting in this amendment.

The Government tell us about tens of thousands of empty or substandard privately owned houses in Scotland and say that they want to do something about them. Let us consider some drastic action to get that criminally neglected property back into service for the benefit of people who desperately need houses in Scotland. The Convention of Scottish Local Authorities is understandably alarmed by the prospect of the effects of this amendment. COSLA says:

the Convention is extremely concerned at the prospect of local authority stock being transferred to private landlords at negative values which in effect will mean that local authorities will require to pay the new landlord to take over the stock. The method of valuation which will he used allows the District Valuer to take the state of repair of the house into account twice and the local authority is not allowed to appeal the District Valuer's decision. The Government's provision is a totally unwarranted attack on local authorities. Why should a local authority or, more significantly, local tenants, pay speculators to take over property that may have considerable potential but which is in bad condition because of the combined effects of criminal architecture and the malicious under-funding of local authorities by the Government? This provision comes on top of the abolition of the cost floor for council house sales on terms that will be even more harmful than those which will apply under the English and Welsh legislation. Once again the remaining tenants will have to pay for the shortfall. They will have to pay for the effects of this legislation. That is wrong and unwarranted and the Minister should be ashamed of himself. We shall oppose this provision.

Mr. Bill Walker

One of the blights of Scottish housing along with many other blights in the United Kingdom is the vast number of houses which, for whatever reason, were not built to a standard to enable them to last. Many of them were post-war and many such houses suffer from condensation, dampness and other horrors. Some of the schemes are not liked by the people who have been forced in the past to live in them and many houses have become derelict. Anything that can be done to revitalise those areas must be good. I pay tribute to Dundee district council, which has been imaginative and has shown the way that a combination of local government and private sector can bring a dramatic change to housing that is in a state of ghastly disrepair and houses the reputation of which was such that no one wished to live in them.

We have to view the amendment along these lines. I accept that in some circumstances—I trust not in all—it may be that the cost of bringing the houses up to an acceptable standard and of changing the face of estates so that people will be happy to live in them will be in excess of the value of the property, so the value of the property, taking account of its condition, may be negative. Sadly, some estates in Scotland have been knocked down before people have gone to live in them. Therefore, we cannot be proud of everything that has happened in housing in Scotland—quite the reverse. Too often, we should be ashamed of the properties and even more ashamed that we ask people to live in them.

It is in that light that I welcome the amendment, because it makes a contribution to real problems, and shows how we can quickly rehabilitate areas that are falling into disrepute and disrepair. I was pleased to see my old home town of Dundee being so progressive, and to see what the council has done to bring back to life estates that had the most appalling reputation over many decades.

Mr. McAllion

I am grateful to the hon. Member for Tayside, North (Mr. Walker) for the compliments that he pays to Dundee district council, which has been imaginative in the way that it has tackled the problems of empty and derelict houses and blocks in certain housing schemes. It has done so on its own, without any support from the private sector. It approached the private sector to see whether it would help in such projects, but it did not want to know. The district council conceived these plans, led their implementation and funded them. The private sector came in only at the last stages, so the council should get the credit. However, I am sure that this Minister, and other Ministers, will try to claim credit at the next general election and will tell us what a marvellous job they have done in Dundee, when it has been the Labour-led Dundee district council that has done a marvellous job. Like the hon. Gentleman, I am concerned about the blight that has affected Scottish housing over the past 10 years, not least as a result of Tory housing policy.

The hon. Gentleman says that the amendment deals with the problem of blocks that have become empty and derelict, but it does not because it deals only with inhabited blocks. We are dealing here with tenants' rights and the right to pick. One has to be a tenant before the amendment comes into play. It is strange that the Minister tries to argue that district councils in Scotland collect rents and put tenants into flats that are so run down and neglected that they have a negative value. That is not so. Many tenants in public sector housing in Scotland live in houses that have been neglected for many years because of the failure to invest. The real problem is that the district councils have been forced to rely only on rents to maintain and manage housing.

A few years ago, Dundee district council received £8 million a year in housing support grant from the Government to help it to maintain the housing stock. It also had a huge rate fund contribution to the housing revenue account, which helped to maintain the housing stock for which it is responsible. That is no longer the case. It has to manage and maintain all its housing stock on the revenue from rents because the Government have stopped housing support grant and rate fund contribution while giving increasingly massive subsidies to the owner-occupier sector through mortgage tax relief. It is strange that the Government can say that they are right to use public subsidy to encourage owner-occupation but that it would be wrong to use public subsidies to maintain public sector rented housing at a decent level that would allow tenants to live in those houses in peace and contentment.

8.45 pm

The Minister is saying that if a council tenant makes an agreement with a private sector landlord, the council will have to accept that some negative value will be placed on the house and will have to pay the private sector landlord for taking the house and the tenant off its hands. At the same time, the district council and the ratepayers in the area will be left to pay off the massive borrowing cost for that house. The loans for public sector houses are paid back over 60 years, and most of the houses in Dundee are still being paid for by the district council. The Minister is saying that, on top of that burden, the council will have to pay the private sector to take the property off its hands.

The Government must accept responsibility for restoring public subsidies to the public sector as well as to the private sector. They must allow district councils to get on with tackling the real problems of housing in Scotland —condensation, dampness and overcrowding—and give public subsidies to enable councils to maintain and manage the stock properly. Instead, the Government are robbing the public sector to fill the pockets of the greedy people in the private sector. That is what this amendment is all about.

Mrs. Fyfe

I do not know whether the people of Maryhill are more streetwise than people elsewhere in Scotland, but I have yet to meet a district council tenant in Maryhill who has the slightest intention of choosing a private landlord. They are not naive or green or stupid or inexperienced about the wiles of private landlords and any poor soul who was likely to fall into the clutches would quickly be advised by their friends and neighbours not to do so.

The hon. Member for Tayside, North (Mr. Walker) has argued that there is no other solution, and that when a house is in an inadequate state and has a low valuation, it should be valued negatively on the market. However, the local authority is not allowed to appeal to the district valuer against what the value of the house is supposed tho be. As my hon. Friend the Member for Dundee, East (Mr. McAllion) pointed out, had the Government maintained housing subsidy, things would not have been as bad. In Glasgow, the housing support grant is half what it was in 1979, and that is allowing for 1979 prices and inflation. In addition, the majority of Scottish housing authorities no longer receive any housing support grant.

When one considers that Glasgow district council has to spend 40 per cent. of its budget on paying the interest on debts to those who lent it money so that it could get houses built, one realises the size of the problem. That problem has been ignored while the Government's intention has been to make hfe easy for those who want to make easy profits as private sector landlords. They have the house handed to them for nothing and are even made a present of some money along with it. They can then sit back and make a killing doing nothing except filling out a rent book once a month. It is a farce and does nothing to ameliorate people's housing needs, and well the people of Scotland know it.

Dr. Reid

I agree with the hon. Member for Tayside, North (Mr. Walker), who congratulated Dundee district council. My district council, Motherwell, and others have been struggling, despite the handicaps imposed upon them by legislation, to continue public sector housing. However, it is disingenuous of the hon. Gentleman to try to draw a comparison between those efforts and what has been done in the Bill. What this part of the Bill sets out is not a joint enterprise or a combination of private and public sectors working towards a common end for the benefit of both. Because of Government restrictions it is a zero sum game that one of them must lose. Under this part of the Bill, it is clear that it robs public sector Peter to make sure that private sector Paul is fattened up.

The Minister did what he could to defend us and I compliment him. His detailed explanation was as clear as mud. The Minister is a master of obfuscation. It occurs to me that had he been a defence lawyer at the Nuremberg trials it would have been no wonder if Goering had won the order of Lenin. Despite the Minister's explanation, this part of the Bill can be put simply. It forces councils to get rid of houses that they do not want to abandon and, because of laws that councils do not support, there is a loss that the council cannot afford, and they must pay for the privilege into the bargain. All that is done on the basis of a valuation which is negative only because the Government have refused in the first place to give the council the money to carry out the repairs.

When it is put as simply as that, a number of questions arise. Why should local authorities be so different from anyone else in the Government's view? The Government are always talking, not about the necessity to bear a loss, but about the need to make a profit. Who else would the Government force to sell off goods that they do not want to sell at a loss? Can we imagine them imposing that form of legislation on Tesco, Sainsbury or Wimpy? Can we imagine the Government leading with a slogan for private enterprise not of "make what profits you can", but, "Sell your goods on that basis not of 'buy one, get one free', but 'buy one, get one free and get a rebate thrown in'"?

Why is it always the taxpayer who has to lose? Why will taxpayers lose over the steel privatisation when the industry is sold off? Why did they lose over the land sales in connection with the royal ordnance factories? Why will taxpayers and ratepayers lose now when it comes to local authorities? The authorities have already been wrapped up in a legal straitjacket. Their funds have already been withdrawn and they have been prevented from raising additional funds to carry out repairs by the Government's rate capping policy. They have had inadequate remuneration.

I agree with the hon. Member for Tayside, North (Mr. Walker) that elected officials deserve proper remuneration, but there is a distinct difference between proper remuneration for our elected officials and greedy golden handshakes for those who abjectly failed to get elected in the first place and are being propped up by public money. All those problems have been inflicted on local councils and they are now being forced to sell at a loss.

The policy affects not just old houses but new houses. A district council near me has been forced to sell four new houses which did not have negative values and were not in such dire conditions. It had to sell them before new tenants came in because, as soon as a new tenant stepped in, it would have had to sell the house in good repair at a loss to the council, only weeks after it had been completed. How much worse will it be when it comes to houses where there is double jeopardy, as my hon. Friend the Member for East Lothian (Mr. Home Robertson) said? It is not only unfair; it is a disincentive to build council houses in the first place.

There must be a growing suspicion that this measure, like other measures in the Bill, is not simply a matter of clearing up. This is not a technical amendment. It is an integral part of the Government's policy of undermining the provision of public sector housing by penalising councils in every way possible and forcing them to sell. This measure, which adds insult to injury, forces them to sell at a loss. That policy is mistaken. The policy of undermining council house provision is not born of principle. It has been born of the Prime Minister's prejudice. It is not a policy shaped by concern. It has been marked rather by callousness. The measure is intended to add to the crippling financial burden of councils and to ensure that there will be little or no new public sector building. If the Government insist on maintaining that policy and if they reject the amendment tabled by Opposition Members, the public will draw their own conclusions.

Lord James Douglas-Hamilton

It is entirely fair that there should be payment by the council to relieve itself of a liability in those few cases where a negative valuation may be appropriate. I shall answer the general point raised by the hon. Member for East Lothian (Mr. Home Robertson) that there should be sufficient funds for capital investment in Scotland. Total gross public capital investment in Scottish housing has risen in real terms since 1979–80 from £718 million to £847 million, which is a marked contrast with the 8 per cent. per annum decrease over the preceding five years when the Labour Government were in power.

I should like to give the House an example of how a negative valuation could work. If a house requires £6,000 worth of repair work to put it into a state of repair required by the landlord's common law and statutory repairing obligations, and if the district valuer took the view that the house would then be valued at £5,000, subject to tenancy, the current market value for tenants' choice would be £5,000, minus £6,000. That is a negative valuation of £1,000

Dr. Reid

I cannot understand why the Government are prepared to go through the rigmarole of valuations and assessments of repairs when a house is being sold off to the private sector, when, for years, councils such as Motherwell district council have been screaming at the Government for repairs. Tenants have to live in these houses needing repair, whether in the private or public sector. Why were the Government not channelling their efforts towards assessing those repairs and ensuring that the council had the money to carry them out?

Lord James Douglas-Hamilton

I explained earlier that we have increased the sums available on housing. The housing revenue account last year was £411 million and this year is more than £441 million, so there has been a substantial increase.

I wish to deal with the point that has been raised about the financial arrangements for local authorities. The authorities will not lose out. In those rare cases where the valuer decides that the valuation is negative, the authorities will make payments from their housing revenue capital accounts. The loan charges resulting will be taken into account in the determination of housing support grant. Therefore, where an authority is eligible to receive housing support grant, it will recoup its costs and, if it is just outside housing support grant, it could come back into it.

Mr. Home Robertson

The Minister has just referred to something called the housing revenue capital account. Does he mean the housing revenue account or the housing capital account?

Lord James Douglas-Hamilton

The words that I used were "housing revenue capital accounts".

Mr. Home Robertson


Lord James Douglas-Hamilton

I have answered the hon. Gentleman's question.

I appreciate that some people take the view that authorities should not be expected to hand over their stock, but I hope that I have shown the House that it is in their interests, on occasions, not to keep what has become a liability. I imagine that negative valuations will be found occasionally and only in the very worst council housing. None the less—

Mrs. Fyfe

The Minister said a moment ago that the capital cost will be made up through the housing support grant. What will he do in the case of the majority of Scottish councils which receive no housing support grant?

Lord James Douglas-Hamilton

I said that, if they were just outside housing support grant, they might come back into it but, obviously, that depends on the circumstances. We anticipate that negative valuations will occur occasionally and only in the worst council housing. The amendment to provide for the possibility of negative valuation is both practical and sensible and I commend it to the House.

Mr. Home Robertson

Will the Minister confirm that tenants will pay for this through the housing revenue account?

Lord James Douglas-Hamilton

If authorities are in receipt of housing support grant, that will be taken into account in the allocations that are made.

Question put, That this House doth agree with the Lords in the said amendment:—

The House divided: Ayes 198, Noes 143.

Division No. 456] [8.58 pm
Alexander, Richard Garel-Jones, Tristan
Allason, Rupert Gill, Christopher
Amess, David Glyn, Dr Alan
Amos, Alan Gorman, Mrs Teresa
Arbuthnot, James Gorst, John
Arnold, Jacques (Gravesham) Gow, Ian
Arnold, Tom (Hazel Grove) Gower, Sir Raymond
Aspinwall, Jack Grant, Sir Anthony (CambsSW)
Atkinson, David Greenway, Harry (Ealing N)
Baker, Nicholas (Dorset N) Greenway, John (Ryedale)
Baldry, Tony Gregory, Conal
Batiste, Spencer Griffiths, Peter (Portsmouth N)
Bendall, Vivian Grist, Ian
Bennett, Nicholas (Pembroke) Ground, Patrick
Benyon, W. Grylls, Michael
Bevan, David Gilroy Gummer, Rt Hon John Selwyn
Blackburn, Dr John G. Hamilton, Hon Archie (Epsom)
Blaker, Rt Hon Sir Peter Hamilton, Neil (Tatton)
Bonsor, Sir Nicholas Hanley, Jeremy
Boscawen, Hon Robert Hannam, John
Boswell, Tim Hargreaves, A. (B'ham H'll Gr')
Bowden, Gerald (Dulwich) Hargreaves, Ken (Hyndburn)
Bowis, John Harris, David
Braine, Rt Hon Sir Bernard Haselhurst, Alan
Brazier, Julian Hawkins, Christopher
Bright, Graham Hayes, Jerry
Brooke, Rt Hon Peter Hayhoe, Rt Hon Sir Barney
Brown, Michael (Brigg & Cl't's) Hayward, Robert
Bruce, Ian (Dorset South) Heathcoat-Amory, David
Burt, Alistair Heddle, John
Butler, Chris Hicks, Robert (Cornwall SE)
Carrington, Matthew Hill, James
Carttiss, Michael Hind, Kenneth
Cash, William Hogg, Hon Douglas (Gr'th'm)
Chalker, Rt Hon Mrs Lynda Howarth, Alan (Strat'd-on-A)
Chapman, Sydney Howarth, G. (Cannock & B'wd)
Chope, Christopher Howell, Ralph (North Norfolk)
Clark, Hon Alan (Plym'th S'n) Hunt, David (Wirral W)
Clark, Sir W. (Croydon S) Hunt, John (Ravensbourne)
Conway, Derek Hunter, Andrew
Coombs, Anthony (Wyre F'rest) Irvine, Michael
Cope, Rt Hon John Jack, Michael
Couchman, James Janman, Tim
Cran, James Johnson Smith, Sir Geoffrey
Currie, Mrs Edwina Jones, Gwilym (Cardiff N)
Davies, Q. (Stamf'd & Spald'g) Jones, Robert B (Herts W)
Davis, David (Boothferry) Kellett-Bowman, Dame Elaine
Day, Stephen Key, Robert
Devlin, Tim Knapman, Roger
Dicks, Terry Lang, Ian
Dorrell, Stephen Lawson, Rt Hon Nigel
Douglas-Hamilton, Lord James Lennox-Boyd, Hon Mark
Dover, Den Lightbown, David
Durant, Tony Lord, Michael
Evans, David (Welwyn Hatf'd) McLoughlin, Patrick
Evennett, David Martin, David (Portsmouth S)
Fairbairn, Sir Nicholas Meyer, Sir Anthony
Fallon, Michael Mills, Iain
Favell, Tony Moate, Roger
Fenner, Dame Peggy Monro, Sir Hector
Fishburn, John Dudley Nelson, Anthony
Fookes, Miss Janet Neubert, Michael
Forsyth, Michael (Stirling) Newton, Rt Hon Tony
Forth, Eric Nicholls, Patrick
Franks, Cecil Nicholson, David (Taunton)
Freeman, Roger Onslow, Rt Hon Cranley
French, Douglas Oppenheim, Phillip
Fry, Peter Page, Richard
Gardiner, George Patnick, Irvine
Patten, John (Oxford W) Sumberg, David
Peacock, Mrs Elizabeth Summerson, Hugo
Porter, Barry (Wirral S) Taylor, John M (Solihull)
Porter, David (Waveney) Thompson, D. (Calder Valley)
Portillo, Michael Thompson, Patrick (Norwich N)
Powell, William (Corby) Thurnham, Peter
Price, Sir David Townend, John (Bridlington)
Raffan, Keith Tracey, Richard
Raison, Rt Hon Timothy Tredinnick, David
Rathbone, Tim Trippier, David
Redwood, John Trotter, Neville
Rhodes James, Robert Twinn, Dr Ian
Riddick, Graham Waddington, Rt Hon David
Ridley, Rt Hon Nicholas Walden, George
Ridsdale, Sir Julian Walker, Bill (T'side North)
Rifkind, Rt Hon Malcolm Waller, Gary
Roe, Mrs Marion Ward, John
Sackville, Hon Tom Wardle, Charles (Bexhill)
Shaw, David (Dover) Warren, Kenneth
Shaw, Sir Michael (Scarb') Watts, John
Shephard, Mrs G. (Norfolk SW) Whitney, Ray
Shepherd, Colin (Hereford) Widdecombe, Ann
Shersby, Michael Wiggin, Jerry
Skeet, Sir Trevor Wilshire, David
Smith, Tim (Beaconsfield) Winterton, Mrs Ann
Soames, Hon Nicholas Wood, Timothy
Spicer, Sir Jim (Dorset W) Yeo, Tim
Squire, Robin Young, Sir George (Acton)
Stanbrook, Ivor
Stern, Michael Tellers for the Ayes:
Stewart, Andy (Sherwood) Mr. David Maclean and
Stradling Thomas, Sir John Mr. Kenneth Carlisle.
Adams, Allen (Paisley N) Ewing, Mrs Margaret (Moray)
Anderson, Donald Fearn, Ronald
Archer, Rt Hon Peter Field, Frank (Birkenhead)
Armstrong, Hilary Fields, Terry (L'pool B G'n)
Ashton, Joe Flannery, Martin
Barnes, Harry (Derbyshire NE) Flynn, Paul
Battle, John Foster, Derek
Beckett, Margaret Fyfe, Maria
Beggs, Roy Galbraith, Sam
Benn, Rt Hon Tony Galloway, George
Bermingham, Gerald Garrett, Ted (Wallsend)
Blunkett, David George, Bruce
Boateng, Paul Godman, Dr Norman A.
Boyes, Roland Griffiths, Nigel (Edinburgh S)
Bradley, Keith Grocott, Bruce
Bray, Dr Jeremy Heffer, Eric S.
Brown, Gordon (D'mline E) Hinchliffe, David
Brown, Nicholas (Newcastle E) Hind, Kenneth
Brown, Ron (Edinburgh Leith) Hogg, N. (C'nauld & Kilsyth)
Buchan, Norman Home Robertson, John
Buckley, George J. Hood, Jimmy
Caborn, Richard Howarth, George (Knowsley N)
Campbell, Menzies (Fife NE) Howells, Geraint
Campbell, Ron (Blyth Valley) Hoyle, Doug
Campbell-Savours, D. N. Hughes, John (Coventry NE)
Carlile, Alex (Mont'g) Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen N)
Clark, Dr David (S Shields) Hughes, Roy (Newport E)
Clay, Bob Ingram, Adam
Clelland, David John, Brynmor
Clwyd, Mrs Ann Jones, Barry (Alyn & Deeside)
Cohen, Harry Jones, Martyn (Clwyd S W)
Coleman, Donald Kaufman, Rt Hon Gerald
Cook, Robin (Livingston) Kennedy, Charles
Cousins, Jim Kilfedder, James
Cummings, John Kirkwood, Archy
Cunliffe, Lawrence Lamond, James
Darling, Alistair Lewis, Terry
Davis, Terry (B'ham Hodge H'l) Litherland, Robert
Dewar, Donald Livsey, Richard
Dixon, Don Lofthouse, Geoffrey
Dobson, Frank Loyden, Eddie
Doran, Frank McAllion, John
Douglas, Dick McAvoy, Thomas
Duffy, A. E. P. McCartney, Ian
Eadie, Alexander Macdonald, Calum A.
Ewing, Harry (Falkirk E) McFall, John
McKay, Allen (Barnsley West) Mullin, Chris
McKelvey, William Murphy, Paul
McLeish, Henry Nellist, Dave
Maclennan, Robert Oakes, Rt Hon Gordon
McNamara, Kevin Patchett, Terry
McTaggart, Bob Pike, Peter L.
Madden, Max Powell, Ray (Ogmore)
Mahon, Mrs Alice Prescott, John
Marek, Dr John Redmond, Martin
Martlew, Eric Reid, Dr John
Maxton, John Robertson, George
Meacher, Michael Rooker, Jeff
Michael, Alun Salmond, Alex
Michie, Bill (Sheffield Heeley) Sheldon, Rt Hon Robert
Michie, Mrs Ray (Arg'l & Bute) Short, Clare
Moonie, Dr Lewis Skinner, Dennis
Morgan, Rhodri Smith, Andrew (Oxford E)
Morley, Elliott Steel, Rt Hon David
Morris, Rt Hon J. (Aberavon) Steinberg, Gerry
Taylor, Mrs Ann (Dewsbury) Winnick, David
Taylor, Matthew (Truro) Wise, Mrs Audrey
Walker, A. Cecil (Belfast N) Worthington, Tony
Wall, Pat Wray, Jimmy
Wallace, James
Walley, Joan Tellers for the Noes:
Wareing, Robert N. Mrs. Win Golding and
Welsh, Andrew (Angus E) Mr. Frank Haynes.
Williams, Alan W. (Carm'then)
"62A.—(1) In accordance with a scheme made by a local authority and approved by the Secretary of State under this section, the authority may make grants to or for the benefit of qualifying tenants of the authority with a view to assisting each person to whom or for whose benefit a grant is made to obtain accommodation otherwise than as a tenant of the authority either—
(a) by acquiring an interest in a house; or
(b) by carrying out works to a house to provide additional accommodation; or
(c) by both of those means.
(2) A scheme under this section shall contain such provisions as the local authority considers appropriate together with any which the Secretary of State may require as a condition of his approval and, without prejudice to the generality, a scheme may include provisions specifying, or providing for the determination of—
(a) the persons who are qualifying tenants for the purposes of the scheme;
(b) the interests which qualifying tenants may be assisted to acquire;
(c) the works for the carrying out of which grants may be made;
(d) the circumstances in which a grant may be made for the benefit of a qualifying tenant;
(e)the amount of the grant which may be made in any particular case and the terms on which it may be made;
(f)the limits on the total number and amount of grants which may be made; and
(g) the period within which the scheme is to apply.
(3) The Secretary of State may approve a scheme made by a local authority under this section with or without conditions and, where a scheme has been approved, the authority shall take such steps as it considers appropriate to bring the scheme to the attention of persons likely to be able to benefit from it and shall take such other steps (if any) as the Secretary of State may direct in any particular case to secure publicity for the scheme.
(4) The Secretary of State may revoke an approval of a scheme under this section by a notice given to the local authority concerned; and where such a notice is given, the revocation shall not affect the operation of the scheme in relation to any grants made or agreed before the date of the notice.
(5) Where a scheme made by a local authority under this section has been approved, a person dealing with the authority shall not be concerned to see or enquire whether the terms of the scheme have been or are being complied with; and any failure to comply with the terms of a scheme shall not invalidate any grant purporting to he made in accordance with the scheme unless the person to whom the grant is made has actual notice of the failure.
(6) In this section, "local authority" and "house" have respectively the meanings assigned to those expressions by section 338(1) of the Housing (Scotland) Act 1987."

Read a Second time.

Mr. Home Robertson

I beg to move, as an amendment to the Lords amendment, amendment (a), in line 41, leave out from 'authority' to 'enquire' in line 42 and insert 'may'.

Mr. Deputy Speaker

With this it will be convenient to take the following amendments to the Lords amendment:

  1. (b) in line 43, leave out 'shall not' and insert 'may'.
  2. (c) in line 45, leave out from 'scheme' to end of line 46.

Question accordingly agreed to. [Special entry.]

Forward to