HC Deb 30 April 1980 vol 983 cc1363-4
10. Mr. Latham

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment when he expects to meet the new chairman of the Housing Corporation.

Mr. Heseltine

I hope to meet Mr. Cubitt soon, and my hon. Friend the Minister for Housing and Construction expects to do so regularly.

Mr. Latham

Is the Minister aware that the appointment of Mr. Hugh Cubitt will be warmly welcomed? When he meets him will he stress that the corporation should give encouragement to voluntary bodies engaged in trying to set up new housing associations, and that he should not listen too much to the salaried officials, and the large bureaucracies that follow them, which seem to have dominated housing association thinking in recent years?

Mr. Heseltine

I think that my hon. Friend is aware, perhaps better than most, of the initial strengths of the voluntary housing movements which were based on exactly the motivations and concepts which he now puts forward. It will be for Mr. Cubitt to review the organisation over which he has responsibility. I am sure that he will bear in mind the important points that my hon. Friend has made.

Mr. Allan Roberts

When the Secretary of State meets Mr. Cubitt, will he ask him to campaign as vigorously as the previous chairman of the Housing Corporation would have campaigned against the cuts in housing association expenditure that have been imposed by the Secretary of State and which will bring housing association building for general needs virtually to an end?

Mr. Heseltine

I am sure that Mr. Cubitt will bear in mind that, if expenditure is higher, interest rates will be higher and fewer houses will be built.

Mr. Dykes

Will my right hon. Friend confirm again that his plan to draft an amendment to the Housing Bill to allow tenants and co-owners of housing association properties to become owners will be warmly welcomed? When he meets the new chairman of the Housing Corporation will he discuss with him, on the assumption that the legislation is enacted, how long it will be before such schemes can commence?

Mr. Heseltine

My hon. Friend will be aware that we are proceeding along the lines that he indicates, and it is our intention to introduce the provisions of the legislation, if it is approved by Parliament, at the earliest possible legal moment.