§ Mr. Frank Allaun
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he is aware that on average housing association tenants are paying approximately £4 a week more rent than council house tenants living in similar accommodation, as shown in evidence from the Greater Manchester area sent to him recently; what steps he will take to reduce the former to the latter; and if he will end determination 50W of housing association rents by the rent-fixing machinery for private landlords' rents.
§ Mr. Freeson
Average rents payable by housing association and local authority tenants do not differ by £4 a week. Comparisons can only be made in specific cases, since fair rents for housing association tenancies may have been fixed up to three years or more ago and may have been subject to rent phasing. This would mean, for example, that an average fair rent of £6.24 registered in 1974 would, on re-registration in the first half of 1977—for which the latest figures are available—rise to £6.99 against the average local authority rent at the time of £5.46. But average figures must be seen against the background of the difference between the age, quality and type of the local authority and housing association stock taken as a whole.
There may be differences in the rents charged by local authorities and housing associations for comparable properties, particularly where these are new lettings and phasing does not apply. The Green Paper on Housing Policy referred to the possibility of removing housing associations from the fair rent system and this is currently under consideration in the light of comments received.