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Housing

Volume 707: debated on Friday 6 February 2009

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what action they are taking to follow up the Prime Minister's statement to the New Local Government Network conference on 29 January that, “if local authorities can build social housing in sustainable communities that meets the aspirations of the British people for the 21st century, then we will be prepared to give you our full backing and put aside any of the barriers that stand in the way of this happening”. [HL1199]

We are consulting on changes to the revenue and capital rules that currently redistribute nationally some of the rent and capital receipts from new council housing. These changes would allow councils to keep the full revenue and capital returns from their investment. We are also inviting councils to bid for capital subsidy (social housing grant) from the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA).

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Baroness Andrews on 23 January (Official Report, 23/1/09; col. WA 238), whether they will examine the results of the decision in November 2005 by the Scottish Government to suspend the right-to-buy scheme in designated areas to mitigate the shortage of affordable housing. [HL1208]

This is a devolved matter. The Government are aware of the development of the modernised right to buy in Scotland. The Housing (Scotland) Act 2001 introduced a new Scottish secure tenancy (SST). Existing tenants with the right to buy (RTB) whose tenancies were converted to SSTs retained the RTB on the same terms and conditions (commonly referred to as preserved RTB entitlements). People taking up new tenancies created after introduction of the SST are entitled to a modernised RTB.

Under the 2001 Act, local authorities in Scotland can apply to Scottish Ministers to have pressured areas designated. To justify designation, local need for social rented housing must be substantially in excess of the local stock, and it must be demonstrable that matters are likely to be worsened by tenants exercising the RTB. Twelve pressured area designations have so far been made in 11 local authority areas since October 2005. In all these cases, the pressured area is a part of the local authority area only. Within these pressured areas, the RTB is suspended for tenants with modernised RTB entitlements for up to 5 years, which can be extended. Tenants with preserved RTB entitlements are unaffected.