HC Deb 17 March 1987 vol 112 cc435-6W
Mr. Murphy

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will make a statement on the achievements of the Commission for the New Towns since May 1979.

Mr. John Patten

The Commission for the New Towns is currently responsible for the assets and liabilities in 13 towns in England, nine of which have been inherited from former new town development corporations since 1979. The commission's main task, set out in the New Towns Act 1981 (as modified by the New Towns and Urban Development Corporation Act 1985) is one of disposal of property.

The commission has achieved total sales between 1979 and December 1986 resulting in income of some £624 million. Development projects initiated by new town corporations have been completed. The commission has been able to finance this investment entirely from the proceeds of the sale of assets and its revenue surplus.

The commission's disposals programme is an important component of the Government's policy for transferring assets from the public to the private sector and in promoting greater choice through competition. The disposals programme is currently running at approximately £140 million per annum.