HC Deb 14 January 1975 vol 884 cc375-7
Mr. Kaufman

I beg to move Amendment No. 14, in page 10, line 23, leave out from 'Act' to end of line 24 and insert: '1975. (1A) The Housing Acts 1957 to 1974 and and this Act may be cited together as the Housing Acts 1957 to 1975'.

Mr. Deputy Speaker (Mr. George Thomas)

With this amendment, we may take Government Amendments No. 38 and No. 39.

Mr. Kaufman

These three drafting amendments deal with the references in the Bill to the collective citation of the Housing Acts. The need for them arises because we have moved into a new calendar year. But as the term The Housing Acts 1957 to 1974 is a complete and meaningful expression in itself, which could stand unamended in spite of the new year, it is necessary to make the matter clear by these amendments.

Amendment agreed to.

Mr. Kaufman

I beg to move Amendment No. 15, in page 10, line 25, leave out 'Part II' and insert 'Parts II and III'.

Mr. Deputy Speaker

With this amendment we may take Government amendments Nos. 25, 32, 37, 41, 44 and 45.

Mr. Kaufman

This group of amendments replaces those provisions already in the Bill as drafted which deal with housing associations to which an order under Section 80 of the Housing Finance Act 1972 applies. At present, there is only one such association—the North-Eastern Housing Association Ltd. It was established to assist in the provision of houses in districts where there was serious unemployment and where local authorities had insufficient income from rates to meet their statutory obligations in respect of slum clearance and overcrowding.

It differs from other housing associations in that it now confines its activities solely to providing new dwellings to rent for tenants from a local authority's waiting list, under Section 120 of the Housing Act 1957. It has in the past provided a certain number of houses for various special purposes, such as for the employees of firms operating on trading estates, but when such dwellings fall vacant they, too, are now made available for tenants from the local authority's waiting list.

The NEHA operates in practice more as a local authority than a housing association, although it retains the main characteristics of a housing association. It is thus sui generis, and it was not considered appropriate to apply to the NEHA either the arrangements in the 1972 Act for local authorities or those for housing associations. Section 80 of the 1972 Act therefore permits the Secretary of State to vary, by order, the provisions of the 1972 Act in relation to an association to which the section applies, and to make certain other provisions—for example, as to the keeping of accounts and as to rate fund contributions to be made by local authorities.

This power was exercised in the Housing Finance (North Eastern Housing Association) Order 1972, as affected, in relation to the relevant local authority areas, by Article 4(1) of the Local Authorities etc. (Miscellaneous Provision) (No. 2) Order 1974, and as varied in relation to the debiting of certain items of expenditure to the various accounts by the North-Eastern Housing Association (Amendment) Order 1974.

Transitional provisions in relation to the association's entitlement to residual subsidy under the 1972 Act to take account of the new authorities established by the Local Government Act 1972 were made by the Housing Finance (North-Eastern Housing Association) (Transitional Provision) Order 1974, made under Section 254(1) and (2)(a) and (c) of the Local Government Act 1972, as extended by Section 102(5) of the Housing Finance Act 1972. The provisions of the 1972 order in relation to subsidies substitute a different subsidy system from the one provided generally for housing associations in Part VII of the 1972 Act.

The provisions as to rents and subsidies which were included in the Section 80 order for the North-Eastern Housing Association now need in most respects to be amended consequent upon the changes to the local authority rent and subsidy provisions which are made in the Bill. But the provisions for the payment of rent rebates to the tenants of the association's dwellings do not need to be changed. Thus, a power is needed both to vary the existing Section 80 orders which have been made in respect of the association and to make new orders.

The provisions already included in the Bill for this purpose have been found on further consideration not to be entirely adequate and this group of amendments therefore replaces them.

As amended, the Bill will provide for rents of NEHA dwellings to be determined by the local authority in whose area they are situated, on the same basis as local authorities must adopt in fixing rents for their own dwellings.

Amendment agreed to.

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