In a difficult spending review the Government were pleased to announce that they will invest over £2.1 billion of capital funding over the next four years to help towards completing the decent homes programme, including £1.595 billion in the council housing sector. Some £0.5 billion will be allocated to continue to fund housing associations that have already taken on the ownership and management of ex-council housing stock. This reflects the Government’s commitment to fairness, protecting the most vulnerable people in our society and as far as possible protecting front line services. This funding will help to refurbish over 150,000 council homes, improving the lives of thousands of residents. It will also help ensure that all councils can deliver a sustainable 30-year business plan under self-financing.
I previously announced that the Government wanted to be fairer in their approach to all, by being less rigid about local structures that would be eligible for funding than the last Government. As a result the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) published proposals for managing the funding allocation process in a consultation document. Following this the agency sent out an invitation to bid to all councils and ALMOs.
The HCA received bids from 70 authorities for a total of £2.7 billion. Therefore there has had to be a rigorous assessment process conducted by the HCA, in consultation with the Mayor for London, in order to live within the available budget.
Today, I am announcing jointly with the HCA the funding for 2011-12 and 2012-13 and indicative funding allocations for 2013-14 and 2014-15. Not all bids have been funded. Those that have not been funded are where the level of non-decency is not as great, is less long standing, or could potentially be funded by greater efficiency savings by the authority especially within the greater freedoms and flexibilities of the system of self-financing after April 2012. Some bids will be funded at a reduced level in line with the criteria in the invitation to bid and may be funded on a later time scale than bid for in order to live within the budget. Only those bids where the authority has made a strong case for investment need and already demonstrated significant cost reductions will receive levels of funding close to their bid. Although there will be more to do, today’s decent homes funding will go a long way to making all homes decent for their tenants.
A table showing the funding allocated has been placed in the Library of the House.