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Rural Housing Programme

Volume 205: debated on Monday 9 March 1992

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To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment when he will announce the allocation of resources to local authorities under his Department's rural housing special programme for 1992–93.

Local authorities that have been successful in bidding for resources under my Department's rural housing special programme for 1992–93 are being informed today. These allocations follow the success of this programme in its first year in 1991–92 in seeking to address, at low unit costs, shortages of social housing which exist for local people in some rural areas.The £30 million of additional supplementary credit approvals are being targeted on those local authorities in rural areas with the greatest need for low-cost rented housing and where best value for money will be obtained. The programme is designed in part to take advantage of the Department's planning policies for the provision of social housing in rural areas, articulated in DOE circular 7/91. This explains that local authorities may now give planning permission for low-cost housing to meet local needs on some sites where commercial housing would not be allowed. Research carried out by the Department recently indicated that this policy was achieving positive results.

All the schemes will be undertaken by housing associations, and this programme is in addition to the Housing Corporation's own programmes for shared ownership and rented housing in rural areas. The corporation's rural programme has targets for approvals rising to 2,250 in 1993–94.

The allocations which I am announcing today should support the creation of 1,016 new units in 1992–93, from 138 schemes in 112 local authorities.

A schedule of allocations has been placed in the Libraries of both Houses.