HC Deb 27 February 1996 vol 272 cc705-6
3. Sir David Knox

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment how many council houses have been sold to sitting tenants in England since May 1979. [15489]

Mr. Gummer

About 1.45 million tenants in England bought their homes between April 1979 and September 1995. At the moment, tenants are still becoming home owners at the rate of 200 a day across Great Britain.

Sir David Knox

How does my right hon. Friend assess the future for potential sales? Will they be direct sales? Does he have any other schemes?

Mr. Gummer

My hon. Friend will agree that the changes that we have made, which give new opportunities to existing tenants in housing association property and thus ensure that future tenants in new homes will have the right to buy, and which have increased the ways in which tenants can be given a chance to buy their own homes, should mean that we shall continue to enable people to buy their own homes. The public will know that none of those 1.45 million families would have been able to buy their own home had the Labour party been in power, because it tried to stop the sales on every possible occasion.

Mr. Olner

Will the Minister consider seriously the Environment Committee report on housing needs and condemn mortgage lenders who are currently red-lining ex-council properties? The asset of those tenants is continually diminishing. Will he consider the matter with the utmost urgency?

Mr. Gummer

My hon. Friend the Minister for Local Government, Housing and Urban Regeneration condemned such practices in his speech only last Friday.