The Rt. Hon. Sir John Major KG CH

Prime Minister of Great Britain and Northern Ireland 1990-1997

Before Parliament (1943-1979)

Mr Major’s Letter to Press – 10 September 1971

The text of Mr Major’s letter to the press on Friday 10th September 1971.


The miserable performance of Lambeth’s Labour council stumbles on. Councillor Livingstone, vice-chairman of Housing, announces that Lambeth have adopted a policy of less co-operation with housing associations. In characteristic fashion this disgraceful decision is dressed up with muddled thinking and dishonest implications.

The muddled thinking is implicit in the policy. The council cannot possibly redevelop every site and rehouse every needy applicant for housing. Housing associations can, however, supplement the council’s activity and their help should be accepted. Instead Cllr. Livingstone implies there these organisations do not help those in need. Who on earth does he think they do rehouse?

Furthermore, he states that Lambeth will continue to support associations assisting the old and disabled. This is praiseworthy and yet the very first scheme to be scrapped is one catering for the elderly. Muddled, dishonest – or just plain vindictive?

The dishonesty of the statement continues. It is implied that the previous council “hived off” public land available for housing. This smear repeats a lie in Labour’s election manifesto which they have already been forced to correct in council. Will Cllr. Livingstone now justify his comment or withdraw it, please?

The councillor rounds off his incredibly ill-informed remarks with an implication that Tories have used housing associations to shirk their responsibilities in the field of housing. This is, of course, totally untrue and to emphasise this point will he now make public the size of the housing programme left by Labour in Lambeth in 1968 and compare it with the size of the Tory legacy in 1971?

John Major, former chairman, Lambeth Housing Committee. 24, Primrose Court, Hydethorpe Rd, SW12.