On 22 January 2003, the Deputy Prime Minister announced that he intended to reduce the maximum discounts available to tenants under the Right to Buy scheme in 42 areas that were under the greatest housing market pressure, as evidenced by a high incidence of homelessness and high house prices.Having considered representations from a number of local authorities and post-transfer housing associations, the Deputy Prime Minister decided to reduce the maximum discounts in 41 areas. This decision was implemented by the Housing (Right to Buy) (Limits on Discounts) (Amendments) Order 2003 (Statutory Instrument 2003 No. 498), which was laid before Parliament on 6 March 2003 and came into effect on 27 March 2003.At the request of Opposition Members, this Order was debated on 12 May 2003 in the Third Standing Committee on Delegated Legislation (
Official Report, 12 May 2003, columns 3–26). During the debate my hon. Friend the Member for Harrow East, agreed to publish information on how all housing authority areas ranked in terms of housing pressure.
A table containing the information has been placed in the Libraries of both Houses.
The Order does not affect areas in Wales, which for Right to Buy purposes are subject to different arrangements administered by the National Assembly for Wales.
The areas are grouped according to the nine English regions—London, South-East, East, South-West, East Midlands, West Midlands, Yorkshire and the Humber, North-East and North-West. Each area was ranked on a scale of 1 (high) to 5 (low) according to the levels of homelessness and house prices locally, and these rankings were used to determine the 41 areas under the greatest housing pressure.
Subsequently, information relating to earned incomes became available, and the model was rerun to take account of affordability. The effects on individual areas of doing so were marginal.
I have today written to the hon. Member for Kingston and Surbiton (Mr. Davey) and to the Standing Committee on Delegated Legislation to convey this information, and to the hon. Member for Runnymede and Weybridge (Mr. Hammond) and to the hon. Member for Cotswold (Mr. Clifton-Brown) to clarify a separate point made during the debate about the costs of the Right to Buy. Copies of these letters have been placed in the Libraries of both Houses.