§ 35. Mr. Fishburn
To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what plans he has for introducing commonhold.
The Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department (Mr. John M. Taylor)
The Government intend to introduce legislation when parliamentary time allows.
§ Mr. Fishburn
Is not it absurd that condominiums and co-operatives, which are the standard way in which flat owners own their property throughout the English-speaking world and the Common Market, are not available in England? Would not commonhold put that right? Would not it be beneficial for this measure—which is supported by everyone who is interested in the proper forms of tenure for our great cities, from. the Duke of Westminster to the Labour Front Bench—to be introduced as soon as possible?
No one has done more than my hon. Friend to advance that proposal and see it thus far, with the enfranchisement legislation shortly to receive Royal Assent. I share his sense of urgency about getting the condominium rules, or commonhold, on to the statute book, although he may feel that those of his constituents who have lived, in their view, under difficult reversion regimes have achieved a vital breakthrough in being able to acquire the freehold reversion. I agree, however, that the picture will not be complete until we get the commonhold legislation on to the statute book as well. There is great pressure on parliamentary time, and the commonhold legislation will have to compete with other legislation that the Government are minded to introduce.
§ Mr. Raynsford
Does not the Minister accept that, following the Government's shameful climbdown in the face of the interests of the landed estates and the Duke of Westminster, the leasehold enfranchisement measures in part I of the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Bill will prove to be a sham to the large number of leaseholders who will not be able to take advantage of them? When will the Government show a sense of urgency about the need to reform leasehold and introduce the commonhold measures that have been promised for far too long?
I have just answered the second part of the question. As for a climbdown, as the hon. Gentleman calls it, I am not aware of one. The measures introduced by the Department of the Environment, which are shortly to receive Royal Assent, have received a broad and proper welcome.