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Local Government Finance

Volume 490: debated on Monday 30 March 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (1) how much funding her Department has provided to local authorities in social housing grant in each region in each year since 1997; (266472)

(2) how much funding her Department has provided to local authorities in social housing grant payments in each year since 1997 at 2008-09 prices.

The Homes and Communities Agency has not paid social housing grant direct to local authorities and has only had the power to do so since the Housing Act 2004. This allowed organisations other than housing associations to bid for social housing grant, the main capital subsidy for new housing. Arms Length Management Organisations (ALMO) have been able to qualify through the pre-qualification process to bid for SHG from April 2008.

In September 2008, we announced that we would invite councils to bid to the HCA for social housing grant on the same basis as ALMOs and special purpose vehicles. We are also consulting on changes to council housing finance rules which would allow councils to keep the full income and capital returns on any investment they make in new council housing. The revenue and capital changes would help councils put together viable bids for social housing grant from the HCA. These changes should result in an increase in building by councils.