HC Deb 15 October 1996 vol 282 c579
9. Mr. Bennett

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment how many homes in England are unfit for human habitation. [38358]

Mr. Robert B. Jones

Against the statutory definition the last English house condition survey in 1991 recorded 1.5 million such dwellings. More up-to-date information will be available from the 1996 English house condition survey, which is due to report next year.

Mr. Bennett

Given the increasing need for new accommodation, does the Minister accept that it is extremely important for the Government to make the best use of existing stock? Is he satisfied that there are now sufficient resources to bring unfit dwellings up to date to modern standards?

Mr. Jones

There are many other sources of resources that are not being properly tapped by local authorities. As has been said, we want to encourage local authorities to go for large-scale voluntary transfers, which would release resources for this and other purposes.