To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, what assessment he has made of the impact of his Department's policy initiatives since 1979 on the housing associations. 
Between 1979–80 and 1994–95, capital and revenue grants totalling more than £16 billion have been made to registered housing associations, which are now the main providers of new social housing. By April 1995 there were around 860,000 housing associations properties, compared with around 350,000 in 1979.In 1988, we introduced mixed funding for housing association developments which has enabled associations to raise over £5 billion in private finance. This has generated almost 100,000 more housing association homes than would have been possible without the private finance input.Our shared home ownership and incentive initiatives have helped people who wanted to buy their own home but could not otherwise afford to do so. These initiatives represent good value for money, particularly where they release rented lettings for others in housing need. From 1990–91 to the end of 1994–195 more than 60,000 households have benefited from these initiatives, and more than 40,000 existing social lettings have been released for others in housing need.We have also encouraged housing associations to take on former local authority housing. Since 1988, 43 new housing associations have been created for this purpose. More than 180,000 dwellings have been transferred from local authority ownership, generating some £2.8 billion of linked private sector investment for the purchase, repair and long-term maintenance of the properties.