HC Deb 15 February 1995 vol 254 cc983-4
4. Mr. Whittingdale

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment how many large-scale voluntary transfers of local authority housing stock have been completed; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Curry

Thirty-six local authorities have transferred almost 162,000 dwellings. We are working with metropolitan authorities to identify ways of taking the policy forward there as well as in the shires.

Mr. Whittingdale

Will my hon. Friend congratulate the tenants of Maldon district council, 80 per cent. of whom voted in favour of transfer to the Plume housing association? Is he aware that that transfer will raise some £22 million, which can be used for the benefit of residents of the district? Will he, or one of his colleagues, consider accepting the council's invitation to attend the transfer ceremony?

Mr. Curry

Maldon has done very well. There was a high turnout, and 82 per cent. voted for the transfer. Tenant consent is at the heart of our policy.

We expect the local authority to complete its negotiation with the housing association shortly. That will clear the way for my right hon. Friend to make the final decision. My colleagues and I are always anxious to visit our hon. Friends' constituencies; indeed, I think that my hon. Friend the Member for Hertfordshire, West (Mr. Jones), the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Environment, plans to visit the constituency of my hon. Friend the Member for Colchester, South and Maldon (Mr. Whittingdale) shortly.