§ Mr. Barry Field
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what assistance he proposes to make available to London boroughs and the Common Council during 1993–94 in respect of extra costs due to his decisions on housing revenue account subsidy in respect of debt inherited from the former Greater London Council; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Redwood
It is my right hon. Friend's firm intention to issue capitalisation directions and supplementary credit approvals (SCAs) to authorities facing during 1993–94 extra costs due to his decision that housing revenue account subsidy is not payable under the statute in respect of certain debts inherited from the former Greater London council. The court yesterday upheld this decision.
Authorities which face such extra costs will be able to apply for capitalisation directions and SCAs during a period which my right hon. Friend intends to specify and which will not be shorter than six months from yesterday when the court gave its judgment.278W
In deciding the amount of a direction and SCA to issue to an authority, my right hon. Friend intends to have regard inter alia to the resources available to him under the Government's public expenditure plans, the authority's 1993–94 budget—in particular the scope for the authority to accommodate the extra costs within that budget, and to the financial reserves and useable capital receipts available to the authority. To the extent that costs are covered by directions and SCAs their impact on the council tax is spread over a number of years.
I am arranging for London boroughs and the Common Council to be sent today the details of the scheme for issuing these directions and SCAs which my right hon. Friend intends to adopt. Authorities will need to take account of these intentions when setting their 1993–94 budgets.