asked Her Majesty's Government:
Whether the Housing Corporation is seeking to merge all black and minority ethnic (BME)-led housing associations into larger white-led associations and [HL5662]
How many black and minority ethnic (BME)-led housing associations existed in 1997; and how many exist now; and [HL5663]
Whether they plan to promote the development of black and minority ethnic (BME)-led housing associations and social enterprise projects. [HL5664]
The Housing Corporation is not seeking to merge all BME-led housing associations. All decisions concerning the merger of housing associations—BME or otherwise—are taken by the governing bodies of those associations. Where a new group structure is created or an existing one amended, the corporation will need to approve the registration of any new body or the constitutional changes required to effect the new structure. When considering proposals for new group structures and mergers, the corporation's registration committee takes into account a number of factors including how simple, clear and straightforward the governance structures are.
There were 56 BME associations in 1998 and 65 in 2008. These figures are derived from Housing Corporation regulatory and statistical return (RSR) data. BME associations are defined by having either 80 per cent BME members on their board or self-declared BME association. Figures for 1997 are not available.
The Government recognise the contribution that all housing associations, including BME-led housing associations, make through housing and neighbourhood and community-focused services; and the need to ensure that they have the capacity to effectively respond to the needs of the diverse communities they serve. This will remain an important focus for the new Homes and Communities Agency and the Tenants Services Authority. Both agencies are committed to responding to the needs and circumstances of BME communities.