§ Mr. Alton
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment how many private and public sector properties are currently vacant in the city of Liverpool; what incentives he will provide to Liverpool city council to introduce homesteading schemes; what penalties he will impose on private and public sector landlords who fail to let properties; what is the estimated annual rent and community charge lost on empty private and public sector properties(a) throughout the United Kingdom and (b) in Liverpool; if he will meet leaders of Liverpool city council to discuss a plan of action; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Baldry
At 1 April 1991, the number of vacant properties in Liverpool was 5,733 local authority, 843 housing association and 7,908 privately owned.543W
As far as local authority stock is concerned, the housing subsidy rules penalise those councils that have more than 2 per cent. of their stock empty and reward those that do better. To further encourage best use of housing resources the Department will be introducing a pilot scheme to promote homesteading of local authority stock, linked with the estate action programme. For private homes, we do not believe that property owners should be forced to let accommodation against their will, but our policies are geared to creating the conditions to encourage landlords to let their properties.