HC Deb 26 October 1988 vol 139 c404

Lords amendment No. 62 agreed to.

Lords amendment: No. 63, in page 50, line 48, leave out "15(3)" and insert "15–

  1. (a) in subsection (2) at the end there shall be added the following paragraph—
  2. (b) in subsection (3)".

Lord James Douglas-Hamilton

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

This concerns a very important matter and one to which we have given much consideration—the granting of tenancies and other benefits to those involved in the running of housing associations or their close relatives.

Amendment No. 63 gives Scottish Homes the power to define classes of case in which the granting of benefits will be allowed. As such, existing controls will be relaxed but abuse of the system will not be allowed to creep in. We believe that we are getting the balance right and that is very important.

This amendment will allow Scottish Homes to introduce exceptions to the general prohibition against benefits, which are tailored to particular circumstances as they emerge. By confining this power to classes of case, rather than applying it to individual cases, we are ensuring the even-handed treatment of those closely involved in the running and decision-making of individual housing associations.

This subject has concerned all parties in this House and I am very pleased that we have been able to meet the concern which has been expressed. The Scottish Federation of Housing Associations wrote to say that it is grateful for the efforts taken to achieve this necessary and important change.

Mr. Home Robertson

I acknowledge this important concession to committee members, office bearers and staff of housing associations. The matter has been raised repeatedly over the years by the Scottish Federation of Housing Associations and by a number of hon. Members in Committee. I cited the case of one of my constituents who has two disabled sons and serves on the committee of a specialist housing association for disabled people. Because of her membership of that committee, her sons have hitherto been prevented from becoming tenants of that housing association. It has been absurd and unfair that membership of such committees should prevent members of such families from becoming tenants of housing associations. That has been demanded over a long period. I welcome the fact that the Government have conceded this significant point. Perhaps the Minister can tell us when he expects that the provisions will be implemented.

Lord James Douglas-Hamilton

I shall write to the hon. Gentleman to give him the precise date, but I should think that it will be extremely quickly.

Lords amendment agreed to.

Subsequent Lords amendments agreed to.