§ Mr. Battle
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will publish the Hambros report into the actuarial margin of risk of private sector borrowing by housing associations.
§ Sir George Young
I refer the hon. Gentleman to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for Greenwich (Mr. Raynsford) on Monday 18 January at column113.
§ 135. Mr. Battle
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what assessment he has made of the change 275W in the share of housing association programmes dedicated to rehabilitation of existing stock; and if he will make a statement.
§ Sir George Young
The Department has commissioned research into the amount of rehabilitation work undertaken by housing associations. The first part of the research, undertaken by PIEDA plc in association with Rodney Dykes Housing Services Ltd, was published at the end of January. I have arranged for copies to be placed in the Library of the House.
The results show that there are a number of factors which have resulted in fewer dwellings being rehabilitated by housing associations than in the past. In addition to the changes brought about by the new financial regime, introduced by the Housing Act 1988, they include: the availability of cheaper land relative to the acquisition costs of properties in need of repair, which encourages new build; increasing opportunities for off-the-shelf purchases of new dwellings from private builders; and the drying up of suitable properties available for rehabilitation in some areas.
The Department has recently let a contract for the second part of the research, which will examine the effects of the decline. The research will again be undertaken by PIEDA, which is due to report in December this year. In the meantime, I have asked the Housing Corporation to aim to maintain rehabat at least at its current level.