HC Deb 16 December 1980 vol 996 cc161-2W
Mr. Straw

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment (1) what information he collects as to the numbers registered on local authority housing waiting lists; and what other evidence he collects as indicators of housing need;

(2) how many persons were registered on local authority housing waiting lists in England at the latest available date; what proportion of the total was applications for transfer from an existing local authority dwelling; and what were the corresponding figures for each of the past five years;

(3) what estimate he makes, on a continuation of present policies, of the numbers on local authority housing waiting lists, excluding transfers, by the end of 1982 and the end of 1984;

(4) what estimate he makes of the average waiting time of applicants on local authority housing waiting lists, excluding transfer applications, in each of the years 1975 to 1981 and in 1982 and 1984.

Mr. Stanley

[pursuant to his reply, 15 December 1980]: Studies published under this and previous Governments have considered the length of council waiting lists to be unreliable indicators of housing need. The Department does not collect the annual figures on waiting lists and waiting times for which the hon. Member has asked, and no estimates about future waiting list figures have been made. Local authorities' appraisals of the housing needs of their areas are submitted annually to the Department, and copies of this year's forms—HIP 1 and housing strategy statements—have been placed in the library. HIP 1 includes information on the number of households whom local authorities consider to be in certain categories of need and who are on their waiting lists.

Regarding the proportion of those on waiting lists who are council tenants seeking transfers, the national dwelling and housing survey indicated that of 1.5 million on waiting lists at the end of 1977, some 550,000 were existing tenants applying for a transfer.