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Homes and Communities Agency: Finance

Volume 493: debated on Monday 1 June 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government on how many occasions her Department has received a request from (a) the Tenant Services Authority and (b) the Homes and Communities Agency and its predecessor bodies to incur expenditure which is potentially (i) novel and (ii) contentious in each of the last three years. (270578)

There have been no formal requests from the Tenants Services Authority or the Homes and Communities Agency to incur expenditure which is potentially novel or contentious.

The predecessor bodies for the Homes and Communities Agency were English Partnerships, the investment arm of the Housing Corporation, and the Academy for Sustainable Communities. A range of departmental programmes also transferred to the Agency from Communities and Local Government. The Department has not approved any formal requests on the basis that the proposals were novel or contentious in the last three years for programmes and projects relating to English Partnerships, the Housing Corporation or the Academy for Sustainable Communities.

In practice, the HCA, TSA and their predecessor bodies would normally discuss any potentially novel and contentious expenditure with the Department before submitting a formal request.

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what expenditure made by the Homes and Communities Agency and its predecessor bodies required approval from her Department in each of the last five years; and how many grants of approval were made. (270647)

The framework document for the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) provides that for project-based programmes, prior Community and Local Government (CLG) approval is required for any projects which involve proposed public expenditure of £10 million or over, expenditure that is potentially novel, contentious or repercussive, or an endowment (to support the ongoing maintenance and upkeep of amenity lands). It also provides for CLG approval for any project under the Community Infrastructure Fund, for all PFI projects, and for all novel or major joint venture projects. My Department has given no approvals to the HCA since its inception on 1 December 2008 under the above categories that involved expenditure in 2008-09.

The predecessor bodies for the Homes and Communities Agency were English Partnerships, the investment arm of the Housing Corporation, and the Academy for Sustainable Communities. A range of departmental programmes also transferred to the Agency from Communities and Local Government.

Prior to the inception of the HCA, the investment arm of the Housing Corporation was required to seek departmental approval on an annual basis on the investment appraisal criteria to be used for assessing bids on its national affordable housing programme and related sub-programmes.

The financial memorandum for English Partnerships (EP) required that CLG approval was given for spending in excess of £10 million, all endowments, and spending which involved the acquisition of a greenfield site. The following table shows the number of approvals made in each of these categories in each year over the last five years. In addition EP sought CLG approval to enter into an interest in a number of bodies in recent years, many of which would have led to expenditure for revenue support of the body; all such subsidiary undertakings are listed in EP's annual report and accounts.

Finally, the Department has not approved any formal requests on the basis that the proposals were novel, contentious or repercussive in the last five years for programmes and projects relating to English Partnerships, the Housing Corporation or the Academy for Sustainable Communities. In practice, these bodies would normally discuss any potentially novel, contentious or repercussive expenditure with the Department before submitting a formal request.

Approvals to English Partnerships

Number of approvals

2004-05

Projects over £10 million

25

Endowments

1

Greenfield

3

2005-06

Projects over £10 million

9

Endowments

5

Greenfield

2006-07

Projects over £10 million

18

Endowments

6

Greenfield

2007-08

Projects over £10 million

9

Endowments

7

Greenfield

1

2008-09

Projects over £10 million

6

Endowments

3

Greenfield

0