HC Deb 22 July 1996 vol 282 cc100-1

Lords amendment: No. 274, in page 136, leave out lines 42 to 49 and insert— ("Realisation of value of Corporation's loans portfolio. 76A.—(1) The Corporation may, and if so directed by the Secretary of State (under section 76) shall, enter into arrangements of a description approved by the Secretary of State for the purpose of realising the value of the whole or part of its loans portfolio. (2) The arrangements may provide for—

  1. (a) the transfer of any estate or interest of the Corporation, or
  2. (b) the creation or disposal of economic interests not involving a transfer of an estate or interest, and may extend to such incidental or ancillary matters as the Corporation or the Secretary of State considers appropriate.
(3) In this section the Corporation's "loans portfolio" means the Corporation's rights and obligations in relation to any loans or related securities. (4) Nothing in the terms of any loan or related transaction entered into by the Corporation shall be construed as impliedly prohibiting or restricting the Corporation from dealing with its loans portfolio in accordance with arrangements under this section.".)

Motion made, and Question proposed, That this House doth agree with the Lords in the said amendment.—[Mr. Curry.]

Madam Deputy Speaker

With this, it will be convenient to discuss Lords amendment No. 276.

Mr. Raynsford

This amendment might be described as the one that sells off the family silver. It is concerned with the disposal of the Housing Corporation's loans portfolio. I rise only to draw attention to widely held fears in the housing world that there will be yet further cuts in the budget for housing association investment in the coming year.

The Government have cut the Housing Corporation's budget in each of the last two years by some £300 million on each occasion, causing enormous damage to the investment programmes of hundreds of housing associations and reducing dramatically the numbers of homes being produced for people in need. If there were to be a further cut in the Housing Corporation's budget in the coming year, that would do even more damage to an already woefully depleted housing programme.

At a time when the Government are giving themselves powers to dispose of the corporation's loans portfolio, it would be a sensible first application of the funds received to restore the cuts in housing association investment programmes to ensure that, in the years ahead, we can look forward to an expanding programme of social housing, rather than facing yet further reductions in an already hopelessly inadequate housing programme.

Lords amendment agreed to.

Lords amendments Nos. 275 to 277 agreed to. [One with Special Entry.]

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