§ Mr. Pavitt
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what steps he is taking to encourage various forms of equity sharing by housing associations.
§ Mr. Freeson
I have asked the Housing Corporation to carry out a programme of pilot schemes, in consultation with the Department and the National Federation of Housing Associations, in order to explore the feasibility of various kinds of equity sharing. These will include a modified form of co-ownership in which part of the equity is retained permanently by the Housing Corporation and covered by housing association grant, and also community leasehold arrangements whereby the tenant buys a lease, with the help of a mortgage, for a premium equal to half the value of the property while continuing to pay a subsidised rent on the remainder. This closely resembles the "half and half" scheme pioneered by Birmingham City Council except that the housing association schemes will not at this stage lead to full owner occupation. The programme will also, it is hoped, include projects in which a share in the equity can be acquired by elderly people investing the proceeds of the sale of a family house and also by those able and willing to carry out improvement work by their own labour, as in American "sweat equity" schemes.