It is a matter for local authorities to decide, in the light of the priorities identified in their housing strategy, whether some of their capital resources should be used to provide new social housing. A key issue in deciding how this should be provided and what schemes to fund will be consideration of value for money (VFM). There is no bar on the provision of new housing by local councils and there is no requirement for approval to be sought. The local councils would have to demonstrate to tenants and their auditors that the provision of new housing provides good VFM compared to that provided by registered social landlords (RSLs).
RSLs have been the main providers of social housing since the 1990s. They are non-profit making organisations who can provide a greater number of homes for a given amount of public expenditure because of their ability to access private finance and to widen choice and competition among social landlords.
(2) how many (a) private, (b) registered social landlord and (c) local authority properties have been assessed as having category 1 hazards under the housing health and safety ratings system in each London local authority area.
The Housing Health and Safety Rating System was implemented from April 2006. Headline findings for England from the 2006 English House Condition Survey were published on 30 January 2008 with the following estimates of the number of properties with a category 1 hazard present:
(a) private : 4,249,000;
(b) registered social landlord: 206,000;
(c) local authority: 297,000.
The presence of a category 1 hazard does not necessarily mean that the current occupiers are at serious risk. The risk assessment determining whether a category 1 hazard is present is based on the potential occupant who is most vulnerable to the hazard: for example, and depending on the hazard that is present, whether an elderly person or a young child would be at serious risk if they lived in the property.
The survey will provide annual updates to these estimates.
Communities and Local Government have asked local authorities in England to submit information on dwellings assessed with category 1 hazards under the housing health and safety ratings system for (a) private, (b) registered social landlords and (c) local authority properties in their 2006-07 annual Housing Strategy Statistical Appendix (HSSA). This is the first year in which we have sought to collect data on the Housing Health and Ratings System (HHSRS). Data that have been returned are considered incomplete and not of reliable quality. We will be working with local authorities and other stakeholders during 2008 to review the data we are seeking on HHSRS.