HC Deb 22 July 1996 vol 282 c38

Lords amendment: No. 37, in page 23, line 13, leave out ("(section 47)") and insert ("(sections 47 and (Powers of the manager: transfer of engagements))")

Mr. Curry

I beg to move, That this House doth agree with the Lords in the said amendment.

Mr. Deputy Speaker

With this, it will be convenient to discuss also Lords amendments Nos. 40, 47, 50, 57, 58, 61 to 64, 66 to 69 and 71.

Mr. Curry

These are minor amendments to improve the way in which the clause works. There is no issue of policy or principle involved, and I commend them to the House.

Mr. Raynsford

I want to draw attention to Lords amendment No. 71, which makes provision for the manager appointed by the Housing Corporation in such cases to arrange a transfer of engagements where a housing association is in financial difficulty. The transfer ensures that the properties can continue to be managed without the risk of the tenants being forced to leave their homes.

We especially welcome that provision, because, earlier this year, the Government tabled a series of measures in the Housing Bill, which were subsequently withdrawn, that would have put at risk a significant number of tenants whose homes were owned by housing associations that got into difficulty. By applying the Insolvency Act 1986, the Government would have made it much more difficult to use procedures such as those now proposed. A transfer of engagements ensures continuity of management and, more importantly—from the lender's point of view—continuity of income stream.

Everyone involved with the housing world knows how important it is to ensure that confidence is maintained among lenders, but, equally, how vital it is to ensure that tenants are not put at risk by difficulties that may from time to time confront their housing associations. We welcome Lords amendment No. 71, but regret that the Government have gone a tortuous way to get to it. However, we are moving towards a more satisfactory framework, which should ensure that proper arrangements are in place to deal with housing associations that get into financial difficulty, without putting tenants at risk of losing their homes.

Lords amendment agreed to.

Lords amendment No. 38 agreed to.

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