HC Deb 02 February 1996 vol 270 cc955-6W
Mr. Waterson

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what are the latest figures for vacant local authority dwellings in England. [13968]

Mr. Clappison

At 1 April 1995, the total number of empty council homes in England stood at some 71,800—2 per cent. of council stock. This represents a slight increase on the 1994 figure—70,300—but follows nine successive years in which the number fell. The latest figure is nearly 40 per cent. lower than the total for 1985—116,500.

Within the overall total, "management vacants"—dwellings ready for occupation immediately or after minor repairs—accounted for around 41,000 of the vacants. I am placing in the House of Commons Library a list of local authorities ranked on the basis of the number of their management vacants at 1 April 1995.

We want to see the best use made of existing council stock and I look to local authorities to continue their efforts to keep their own empty dwellings to a minimum. Most authorities have a good record on filling their vacant dwellings but there are still some where there is room for improvement.