§ Mr. Allan Stewart
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will make a statement on the future of hostel deficit grant.
§ Mr. Michael Spicer
The resources available for deficit revenue funding of housing association special needs projects are to be more than doubled, from an expected expenditure of £36.5 million in 1990–91 to £60 million in 1991–92 and £95 million in 1992–93.
This will enable all existing projects already in receipt of deficit grant or with budget approval to continue to be funded and appropriate new projects, whose capital costs are met through the Housing Corporation, to be funded in the future. It will not, however, enable revenue funding to 15W be available for new projects whose capital costs are met by others or, normally, for existing projects for which deficit grant has not previously been paid.
The Housing Corporation will be consulting interested parties on a new determination which would bring this development in policy into effect from 1 April 1991. Meanwhile, it will not normally be approving any budgets for new schemes whose capital costs are not met by the corporation.
I am still considering whether HDG could be replaced, within available resources, by a flat-rate allowance. I hope to make an announcement shortly.
§ Miss Widdecombe
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he has any changes to announce to his Department's cash limits and running costs limits for 1990–91.
§ Mr. Chris Patten
Yes. Subject to parliamentary approval of the necessary supplementary estimates (i) the cash limit for class VIII, vote 2 (miscellaneous housing administration and grants) will be increased by £12,185,000 from £98,032,000 to £110,217,000, principally to cover additional payments to the Housing Corporation of £13,500,000 to provide accommodation for single homeless people, and increased funding of £1,500,000 for grants to voluntary organisations for the same purpose. The cash limit increase also includes £2,900,000 to cover additional costs arising on housing, building and construction research as the result of the Building Research Establishment charging its customers full economic costs. These increases are partially offset by savings, the most substantial of which is £4,800,000 for housing action trusts (HATs) following the decision by tenants at Southwark not to proceed with a HAT.
(ii) The cash limit for class VIII, vote 5 (central environmental services, etc.) will be increased by £8,504,000 from £357,896,000 to £366,400,000. This is mainly to cover additional grant in aid to the National Rivers Authority of £5,500,000 and an increase of £3,500,000 for grants towards the costs of water supply and sewerage in rural areas. There are a number of offsetting savings within the cash block. A further increase of £600,000 for environmental research is the result of the Building Research Establishment charging its customers full economic costs.
(iii) The cash limit for class VIII, vote 6 (royal palaces, Historic Royal Palaces Agency, etc.) will be increased by—95,000 from—149,847,000 to—149,942,000 My Department is taking up £145,000 of its capital end-year flexibility entitlement of £1,319,000 announced by the Chief Secretary to the Treasury on 25 July. The £145,000 is for the new property services arrangements for occupied royal palaces. These increases will be partly offset by a saving of £50,000 in respect of grant to the Temple Bar Trust.
(iv) The cash limit for class VIII, vote 8 (Department of the Environment: administration) will be increased by £1,151,000 from £156,599,000 to £157,750,000 to enable various environmental initiatives to be taken forward and to cover the cost of administering the community charge system. Additional provision has been reduced by £795,000 in respect of the penalty imposed following a breach of this cash limit in 1989–90. The running costs limit for my Department will be increased by £4,128,000 from £153,458,000 to £157,586,000. Additional running cost 16W provision has been reduced by £558,000 in respect of the penalty imposed following a breach in the Department's running costs limit in 1989–90.
(v) The cash limit for class VIII, vote 9 (revenue support grant, payments of national non-domestic rates, etc., England) will be increased by £34,832,000 from £20,009,457,000 to £20,044,289,000 to provide additional funds to cover the higher than anticipated proportion of community charge preparation costs grant which was not claimed by charging authorities in 1989–90. This increase is fully offset by savings on the non cash-limited class VIII, vote 14.
(vi) The non-voted cash limit for DOE/UA (urban aid and derelict land reclamation) will be increased by £7,000,000 from £897,666,000 to £904,666,000. The cash limit increase includes £7 million grant in aid to the Black Country development corporation for land acquired for the Black Country spine road. This has been offset by an equivalent reduction in the cash limit for class VII, vote 1. An additional £5,628,000 for local authority derelict land grant is being offset by equivalent savings in the cash block.
(vii) The non-voted cash limit for DOE/LACAP (local authority capital and credit approvals) will be reduced by £500,000 from £2,813,560,000 to £2,813,060,000 at the revised estimates scrutiny to reflect a £500,000 PES transfer to DSS from deliverable savings to cover additional rent allowances payable following some transfers of local authority tenanted housing to the private sector.
(ix) The net increases are within the forecast outturn for the planning total included in the Chancellor's autumn statement today.