Skip to main content

Housing Revenue Account

Volume 511: debated on Thursday 10 June 2010

The Government are committed to reviewing the unfair housing revenue account in England, and want a funding system that gives local communities more power and responsibility. I can therefore announce that I intend to continue with the review that was undertaken by my predecessor, which reports back to me on 6 July.

Is the Minister aware that Welsh local authorities returned more than £80 million to the Treasury as a consequence of the scheme last year, and that my home local authority, Carmarthenshire county council, which has retained its stock, returned £5.5 million in 2008-09? Does he agree therefore that the scheme does not provide a level playing field between local authorities and housing associations, and that it would be far fairer for moneys to be retained locally to increase investment in public housing, help Welsh local authorities to achieve the Welsh housing quality standards and help to create jobs in the local economy?

The hon. Gentleman is absolutely right that there are numerous problems with how the housing revenue account operates at the moment, in England as well as in Wales. The simplest answer that I can give him is that I agree, and we will continue the review.

Kettering council, on which I serve, collects £12 million a year from its council tenants, £3 million of which is handed straight over to Her Majesty’s Treasury. How is that fair, and will the Minister receive a representation from the council on this issue?

I would be happy to receive a delegation from the council on the issue. It is absolutely the case that it is not fair. I think that there is cross-party agreement that the housing revenue account has become increasingly unfair over the years. That must be fixed, in the interests not only of transparency and of the tenants within those authorities that are paying in, but of efficiency. I would be very happy to meet my hon. Friend and his colleagues.