HC Deb 24 November 1994 vol 250 cc250-1W
Mr. Walter Sweeney

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment when he proposes to issue the draft housing revenue account subsidy determinations for 1995–96.

Mr. Curry

The draft housing revenue account subsidy determinations for 1995–96 have been issued today and local authorities have been invited to let my Department have their views by 15 December 1994.

The proposed average guideline rent for 1995–96 is £33.82 a week nationally; an average increase of £2.28 a week on this year, 1994–95. Increase range between £1.82 a week in authorities with relatively low value housing and £2.82 in authorities with high value stock.

The average management and maintenance allowance per dwelling would increase by 3.75 per cent.—an extra £125 million nationally—which would take total M and M provision to £3,445 million. These extra resources would benefit 216 authorities, whose present M and M allowance is below the Government's assessment of their relative need to spend. As a result, each authority's allowance would be a minimum of 97 per cent. of their target.

These proposals strike a reasonable balance between the need to contain public expenditure and the need to ensure council tenants receive decent services at acceptable cost. The percentage increase in guideline rents is lower than in 1994–95, while the extra provision for management and maintenance expenditure means that it should be possible to improve services in many areas. Nearly 80 per cent. of tenants stand to gain from the higher management and maintenance allowances.

Local authorities determine their own expenditure and set their own rents. But I hope that they will follow the Government's lead in adopting a balanced approach, and will respond positively to our proposals.