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Social Housing Grant

Volume 401: debated on Thursday 20 March 2003

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To ask the Deputy Prime Minister for what reason his Department did not communicate directly with local authorities likely to be affected by the decision to abolish local authority social housing grant from 1 April, prior to the publication of the ministerial statement on 5 March. [102754]

The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister consulted local authorities on the principle of abolishing local authority social housing grant last autumn. In the light of work on the communities plan, we decided to make this reform quickly—provided transitional arrangements were in place to ensure that well-advanced, good quality schemes were able to go ahead.In addition to two letters circulated to all local authorities in England outlining our decision, officials of the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister held three face-to-face meetings with local authority representatives in February to discuss transitional funding.

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what assessment he has made of the number of social housing schemes which will not proceed as a result of the abolition of the local authority social housing grant. [103263]

In my statement of 5 March I announced increased provision for transitional arrangements for local authority social housing grant (LASHG). Transitional funding will now support investment in social housing of up to £550 million—£50 million more than we provided in 2002–03 from LASHG, and higher than in any previous year. The number of affordable homes to be built in 2003–04 using this funding will not be known until after 30 June 2003, which is the deadline for both with-debt and debt-free authorities to submit new schemes for 2003–04 to the Housing Corporation.