§ Mr. Latham
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he intends to increase the limits on the costs towards which an Exchequer contribution may be made when a local authority or housing association improves homes for sale; and whether he will report on progress with the improvements for sale scheme to date.
§ Mr. Stanley
Orders which come into effect today increase these limits from the present ceiling of £5,000 throughout England to £10,000 in London and £7,500 elsewhere. To date more than 30 local authorities and 30 45W housing associations have undertaken improvement for sale in respect of some 350 dwellings under the pilot programmes that the Government launched last year. In the current financial year the Housing Corporation is allocating £19.5 million for improvement for sale schemes and some 90 housing associations will be engaged on improving approximately 4,000 dwellings for sale. In addition a further 30 local authorities have indicated that they are likely to undertake improvement for sale this year. Improvement for sale has already shown itself to be a valuable and cost-effective means of meeting the needs of first-time home owners.