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Urban Programme And Housing Cost Yardstick

Volume 983: debated on Wednesday 30 April 1980

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asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he is prepared to delay formulating any recommendations with regard to the traditional urban programme and housing cost yardstick until such time as full consultation has taken place with the voluntary sector and, in particular, those organisations involved in children's play.

Preliminary views about the objectives and effectiveness of the traditional urban programme were invited from a number of national organisations last autumn. In the light of the comments received, and the results of the Department's survey of a sample of local authorities, a further consultation document was widely circulated in March. Many responses to this document have been received, including some from organisations involved in children's play. I see no need to delay the formulation of recommendations arising out of this review, since a decision is needed soon on whether, and if so in what form, to invite fresh bids from local authorities (including those for voluntary schemes) for next year's projects. My right hon. Friend announced on 22 January proposals to replace the present controls on local authority housebuilding, including abolition of the housing cost yardstick, with effect from April 1981. A consultation document setting out the proposals in detail is being prepared, and interested parties will have the opportunity to comment when it is published.