HC Deb 22 July 1996 vol 282 cc34-5

Lords amendment: No. 10, in page 5, line 24, leave out subsection (3).

Mr. Curry

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

Madam Speaker

With this, it will be convenient to discuss also Lords amendments Nos. 11, 12, 27, 28 and 34.

Mr. Curry

The purpose of the amendments is to clarify when the Housing Corporation's consent is required by a registered social landlord seeking to dispose of land. Some of them also clarify when the corporation can serve a notice to obtain information, and one would add to the list of topics on which the corporation may issue housing management guidance.

Mr. Raynsford

The Opposition welcome the amendments, especially Lords amendment No. 34, which increases the number of subjects on which the Housing Corporation may issue guidance. That particularly highlights the issue of devolution to tenants of decisions concerning the management of housing accommodation.

I put it to the Minister, however, that there is an inherent conflict between this provision—which we welcome—and the extremely restrictive guidance that the Housing Corporation has been issuing on its ability to register as social landlords organisations containing a majority of tenants on the board, or in which the tenants have the major interest in the new social landlord. If the advice that is to be issued by the Housing Corporation is to be meaningful and not ridiculous, it will be necessary for it to reconsider that blanket restriction on its ability to register social landlords with the majority of tenant representatives.

I understand from the Housing Corporation that the decision was not taken by it uniquely or on its own initiative, but that there is a presumption on the part of the Government that such bodies should not be registered. Government action will therefore be necessary in order to avoid the Housing Corporation being put in a ridiculous position.

Despite the Minister's comments about the reason for the large number of amendments with which we are dealing today, the consequence of the way in which matters have been handled is that an enormous volume of material is being considered at the very latest of stages in the Bill's progress through Parliament, and, sadly, many loose ends of this nature will not be sorted out properly in the time available.

4.15 pm
Mr. Curry

There is one area in which we have made it clear that we do not expect there to be majorities for any of the constituent parties—the new housing companies. I am willing to discuss with the Housing Corporation any other matter that concerns the guidance it issues, in the context not only of its guidance but of guidance that will necessarily follow this legislation.

Lords amendment agreed to.

Lords amendments Nos. 11 and 12 agreed to.

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