HC Deb 08 July 1981 vol 8 c159W
23. Mr. Flannery

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment how many council houses have now been sold.

Mr. Stanley

In the Government's first two years in office the number of local authority and new town dwellings in Great Britain where the sales had been completed by 31 March 1981 was 140,000.

33. Mr. Heddle

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he is satisfied with local authorities' progress towards selling council houses.

Mr. Stanley

I refer my hon. Friend to the answer given by my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister to my hon. Friend the Member for Melton (Mr. Latham) yesterday.

46. Mr. Silvester

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he is satisfied with the way local authorities are exercising their discretion under the Housing Act in the matter of the rights of relatives of tenants who decide to buy their council houses; and if he proposes to make any change.

Mr. Stanley

My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State has no plans at present to seek to amend the discretionary powers given to local authorities under the right-to-buy provisions of the Housing Act 1980, which are designed to enable them to take account of the particular circumstances of tenants' children who are seeking to exercise the right to buy.

Where authorities are entrusted with a statutory discretion, they must exercise it according to law. The decision whether to exercise discretion in favour of a claimant in any particular case is a matter for the local authority concerned, but I am advised that in law it would be wrong for any local authority to decide as a matter of policy never to consider whether to exercise its discretion.

Mr. Kaufman

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will make an estimate of how many average council houses a local authority needs to sell in order to obtain sufficient capital receipts to build one average council house.

Mr. Heseltine

[pursuant to his reply, 6 July 1981]: On the same assumptions as those used in reply to the hon. Member for Holborn and St. Pancras, South (Mr. Dobson) on 10 June—[Vol. 6, c. 155]—and 22 June—[Vol. 7, c. 56]—it is calculated that resources sufficient for a local authority to construct one dwelling additional to the total housing stock would be obtained, on average, from the sale of 13 local authority houses. Authorities may also generate capital receipts for additional new buildings by sales of land, buildings and vacant dwellings and through mortgage repayments.