§ Mr. Allan Roberts
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) if his Department has any estimate of the number of police houses owned by police authorities which are standing empty;
(2) if he will issue a circular urging the speedy disposal of police houses surplus to the requirements of police authorities and urging police authorities to release empty police houses to local authorities or housing associations for permanent housing use or, where appropriate, for short life housing schemes.
§ Mr. Whitelaw
On such information as is available, the total could be of the order of 3,800, about 13 per cent. of all police housing stock. This includes properties standing empty for relatively short periods as a result of postings, transfers and resignations, as well as properties due for redecoration or modernisation and those held vacant specifically for disposal. Police authorities were urged in 1973 to keep their housing stock under review and to dispose of any that were surplus to operational requirements, either by sale or by short-term leasing arrangements. I do not consider it necessary to issue further guidance on this subject.