HC Deb 23 July 1975 vol 896 cc219-21W
Mr. Richard Wainwright

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will name the members and state the terms of reference, of the special study group on social ownership and renovation of council dwellings, which is being chaired by the Minister for Housing and Construction; and when he expects thy: group to report.

Mr. Freeson

The current members of the study group are as follows:

Chairman: Minister for Housing and Construction.

Association of District Councils:

  • Councillor F. D. Bushell.
  • Councillor J. Brocklebank.
  • Councillor W. J. Passmore.
  • Councillor A. G. Wyatt.
  • Councillor C. E. Merrett.
  • Councillor C. E. Shopland.

Association of Metropolitan Authorities:

  • Councillor J. Smart.
  • Councillor T. McLatchie.
  • Councillor H. L. Cowans.

Greater London Council:

  • Councillor R. A. Balfe.

London Boroughs Association:

  • Councillor D. B. Hoodless.
  • Alderman P. H. Hartley.

Department of the Environment:

  • Mr. P. E. Lazarus.
  • Mr. S. W. Gilbert.
  • Mr. D. C. Pickup.
  • Mr. M. H. Revell, Secretariat.
  • Mr. V. Matley, Secretariat.

The terms of reference of the Study Group are: (i) to examine programmes proposed by local authorities in England for:

  1. (a) acquiring privately-owned dwellings; and
  2. (b) renovating council-owned dwellings by means of improvement and capitalised repairs;
and in the light of available evidence as to relative needs, based on authorities' renewal strategies and other sources of information, to assess priorities within these programmes for the allocation of available resources from 1976–77 onwards; (ii) to consider means whereby the current administrative controls over the municipalisation and council house renovation programmes might be adapted so as more effectively to further the achievement of priority objectives; and (iii) to be available for consultation on any general circulars or other forms of advice to be issued by the Department on matters affecting the municipalisation and council house improvement programmes.

In order to facilitate its work the study group will remit to a working party of officers and officials the tasks of coordinating the assembly of data and of producing advice to the study group, on the following specific issues:

  1. (a) distribution of resources relating to improvement and capitalised repair planned by local authorities as between purpose-built council estates and municipalised property, and as between different categories of purpose-built estates;
  2. (b) assessment of future acquisition programmes in various parts of the country in relation to stated priorities;
  3. (c) assessment of overall needs for improvement and the identification of special local or regional problems;
  4. (d) standards of house renovation and unit costs; and
  5. (e) assessment of the level of investment necessary to sustain realistic five-year forward capital programmes of acquisition, renovation, repair and associated environmental works, having regard to the physical and financial resources likely to be available.

The working party is due to present reports to the study group for examination as a basis for decisions which I have to take on policy and the use of resources in this field. The programme of work does not envisage a report from the study group as such, but no decision has been taken on this yet.

Mr. Michael Latham

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment who are the members of the study group evaluating housing information of the kind outlined in paragraph 2 of the Department of the Environment Circular 64/75; and how many times to date the group has met.

Mr. Freeson

I would refer the hon. Member to the reply given today to the hon. Member for Colne Valley (Mr. Wainwright). The study group has met once to date, and the associated working party has met twice.

Mr. Michael Latham

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he will list the local authorities which have sought loan sanction from him for acquisition of dwellings outside the categories listed in paragraph 18 of the Department of the Environment Circular 64/75; what was the total number of dwellings for which each local authority sought sanction; and in which cases it was (a) approved, (b) refused or (c) deferred.

Mr. Freeson

I will write to the hon. Member in due course.