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Arms Length Management Organisations

Volume 462: debated on Monday 25 June 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (1) what steps her Department has taken to allow local authorities with arms-length management organisations the flexibility to use their own (a) land and (b) other resources to build and own homes; (143462)

(2) what plans her Department has to facilitate the construction of more council housing by (a) local authorities and (b) arms-length management organisations.

Local authorities have an important role in securing new affordable housing. They should work in partnership with housing associations and developers, using their planning and other powers, to identify need and support development. But we are encouraging more direct development by authorities where it offers value for money.

We have changed the bidding process for social housing grant this year which will make it easier for arms-length management organisations (ALMOs) or local authority special venture vehicles to satisfy pre-qualification tests of financial standing and technical capacity which has hampered previous ALMO bids; and ensure that when an authority brings forward land in a bid, this is likely to score well in meeting the criteria of deliverability and strategic fit.

We are exploring with six local authorities, three of which have ALMOs, the benefits of their coming out of the housing revenue subsidy system. The pilots have shown that being self-financing creates a number of benefits, one of which is the opportunity for councils to have a more direct role in building homes for rent. The work of the pilots is currently being assessed.