HC Deb 19 April 1995 vol 258 cc207-8
15. Mr. Butler

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what steps he is taking to ensure that councils repair properties promptly. [17919]

Mr. Robert B. Jones

On 1 April 1994, we introduced the new right-to-repair scheme, which requires councils to carry out repairs covered by the scheme quickly.

Mr. Butler

I welcome my hon. Friend's reply, and many tenants welcome the right-to-repair scheme. I invite my hon. Friend to comment on the inordinate and unnecessary delay between tenancies, when properties remain empty for weeks and sometimes months because of incompetent and inefficient local authorities. They are mainly Labour-controlled but, to be fair, some are Liberal-controlled. They seem incapable of having repairs made properly, partly because of their obsession with using direct labour organisations. Can anything be done to reduce waiting lists while cutting the number of empty properties?

Mr. Jones

My hon. Friend makes an extremely good point. We are keen to see through the housing investment programme evidence that local authorities are managing their existing housing stock properly. That includes making sure of a quick turnover of properties between tenants. If my hon. Friend has particular instances in mind, I will be pleased to see that they are raised when considering each local authority's HIP round.