HC Deb 23 November 1995 vol 267 cc236-7W
Mr. John Greenway

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what targets have been set to reduce the number of empty Government homes. [2797]

Mr. Curry

The Government are determined to cut the number of empty homes, whether they are owned by local councils, housing associations, private individuals or Whitehall Departments. An empty home is a wasted asset.

Last year nearly 4,000 empty Government homes were brought back into use or sold. We are now building on the progress already made by setting targets for 1995–96 that aim to reduce the number of empty properties and the length of time that they remain empty.

The targets are as follows:

Department Total stock (1 April 1995) Empty (1 April 1995) Empty as percentage (1 April 1995) Target for percentage empty (1 April 1996) Target for percentage empty for more than six months that could be lived in or made habitable1 (1 April 1996)
Department of Transport 3,511 1,028 29.7 2<25 <9
Home Office 4,023 455 11.3 <11 <3
Scottish Office 1,481 162 10.9
3251 344 317.5 2 3<10 3<3
Welsh Office 239 62 25.9 <3 <3
Ministry of Defence 70,586 12,699 18 By 1 April 1996 to dispose of 1,500 homes By summer 1996 to dispose of 4,000 homes


1 Properties that "could be lived in or made habitable" includes all properties except:

  1. (a) derelict properties that await demolition (e.g. to make way for road schemes);
  2. (b) those that are expected to be demolished in the near future where the expenditure required to make them habitable would be disproportionate to their expected life (e.g. where substantial investment would be required to connect essential services, such as water, sewage or electricity);
  3. (c) those that cannot be made accessible (e.g. due to adjacent construction work).

2 The Department of Transport target for percentage empty that could be lived in or made habitable (as defined in note above) is <15 per cent. On the same basis, the target for Scottish Office is <3 per cent.

3Excludes NHS properties in England and Scotland. These are surveyed every two or three years. A survey in England is in progress now, and when the results are available targets will be set to cover the period until the next surveys.