asked the Secretary of State for the Environment on what basis he intends in future to allocate expenditure for the renovation of local authority dwellings in England.
This is a matter on which longer-term decisions must await the outcome of the work of the Study Group on Programmes of Social Ownership and Renovation of Council Dwellings. However, subject to the possible deferment of some schemes because of overall budgetary constraint, local authorities may plan their renovation schemes for next year on the basis that the Government intends to give priority to the following categories of work in allocating the available resources in 1976–77:
Contractural commitments already firmly entered into, and projects already in progress by Direct-Labour Organisations provided, in each case, they are commitments incurred after 1st April 1975 and have received specific subsidy approval by the Department of the Environment.
Schemes of conversion of any acquired dwellings to produce housing gain.
Schemes of improvement to acquired substandard dwellings, especially those in housing action areas, priority neighbourhoods or general improvement areas. Special attention will also be given to proposals aimed at combatting homelessness or at bringing back into use dwellings previously uninhabited because of inadequate physical conditions, but the general authority to carry out initial works to such dwellings under Circular 64/75 will be taken into account.
Schemes of conversion of purpose-built council dwellings to produce housing gain.
In addition, priority in the issue of loan sanction for repairs during 1976–77 will be given to:Schemes of improvement to purpose-built council dwellings which lack standard amenities or which—through vandalism, severe disrepair or design errors—will be uninhabited unless improved.
Unforeseeable major works required to remedy conditions found to be injurious to the health or safety of residents.
Schemes to remedy serious defects in purpose-built council dwellings that will otherwise be uninhabited.
In the period prior to the announcement of allocations for 1976–77, local authorities would be well advised to consult the Department before entering into major contractual commitments involving expenditure in 1976–77.