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Local Authority Rents

Volume 301: debated on Wednesday 26 November 1997

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To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what guideline rents he proposes for local authority tenants in England for 1998–99. [18125]

We are proposing that the average guideline rent for 1998–99 should increase from £35.38 to £36.35 a week. This is 97p per week more than the current year's guideline rent in cash terms. Guideline rent increases for individual authorities would range between 72p and £1.22.To encourage authorities to keep their rent increases within the guideline increase, we propose to continue with the present rule that limits rent rebate subsidy. This gives authorities a strong incentive to keep rent increases down to reasonable levels, but does not affect tenants' entitlement to housing benefit.Total provision within the subsidy system for expenditure by authorities on management and maintenance in 1997–98 will be more than £3.3 billion. This is about the same per dwelling as in the current financial year.Our proposals are set out in the draft Housing Revenue Account Subsidy and Item 8 determinations for 1998–99, which we have sent to housing authorities today. Authorities have been invited to let my Department have their views by 17 December 1997.So that they can make full use of the extra capital resources released under the Government's Capital Receipts Initiative, the draft determinations also provide for authorities to receive additional revenue support where there resources are used in respect of council housing.Copies of the draft determinations have been placed in the House Library.