§ Mr. George Howarth
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment when he intends to publish the report of his Department's working party on housing co-operatives.
§ Mr. Trippier
I welcome the report of the committee which has carried out the review of housing co-operatives382W in England and which has been published today. The committee has responded positively to its terms of reference and confirmed that co-ops and other tenant control arrangements are popular with tenants, are effective, and are able to justify the grant support which has already been provided for them.
The committee recommends several important measures to increase the involvement of tenants in the management of their homes, and extra support for tenants' groups to help them form housing co-operatives and the other types of tenant control considered in the review.
I am delighted to accept the committee's recommendations and to endorse its view that an expansion of co-operatives and other tenant-led initiatives is now needed. This mirrors the Government's belief that real choices must be available for tenants.
This expansion must be accompanied by further work, linked to research recently carried out and soon to be published by the Department, to refine our understanding of the value for money that tenant-led management can offer and to monitor progress. In the meantime, I am happy to announce that:we will provide a significant build-up for additional support for the promotion and development of new housing co-operatives and alternative forms of tenant control in the local authority stock;my Department will urgently discuss with interested bodies training opportunities for both tenants and development workers and ways of improving them;we will make £2 million available in 1990/91 to provide start-up support for new tenant initiatives and the promotion of new co-operatives in the housing association stock;a new promotional unit will be set up at the Housing Corporation to increase opportunities for participation among housing association tenants;we will ensure effective monitoring arrangements are established to ensure progress is made with tenant involvement using these newly increased resources;we will discuss with interested parties possible ways of improving the coverage of sources of advice and assistance for tenants by secondary co-operatives and other local organisations;we will invite local authorities to discuss proposals for the decentralisation of a major part of whole of their stock to local management organisations. We intend to develop a small number of pilot projects to test cost-effectiveness and service delivery.
Copies of the report have today been placed in the Libraries of both Houses.