HC Deb 17 October 1994 vol 248 cc18-9W
Mr. Spearing

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what representations he has received concerning the level of housing association grant rate for 1995–96; what response he has made to the opinions of the Environment Committee on this topic; and what criteria he has adopted for determining that figure for 1995–96.

Mr. Robert B. Jones

My colleagues and I received 88 letters concerning housing association grant rates for 1995–96 in the period to 12 October.

The Select Committee's report into the work of the Housing Corporation made no specific proposal concerning grant rates in 1995–96. Their general view that grant rates should be maintained in the absence of falls in procurement costs was carefully considered.

The Housing Corporation advised me on the implications of changes in development costs and tenants' incomes, and the likely impact of lower grant rates on rents and affordability and on the supply of private finance to support the development programme. Their analysis has been published, and copies have been placed in the Library of the House. It shows that the reduction in grant rates that my hon. Friend the Minister for Local Government, Housing and Urban Regeneration announced on 3 August 1994 was very largely justified by lower procurement costs.

Dr. Lynne Jones

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what representations he has received from(a) the Council of Mortgage Lenders or (b) other private financial institutions on the level of housing association grant.

Mr. Robert B. Jones

Ministers here, as well as officials from my Department and the Housing Corporation, are in regular contact with lenders and with the Council of Mortgage Lenders. On the basis of those discussions, I am confident that private finance will continue to be available to enable associations to deliver the substantial programme of new affordable homes for which we have made provision.

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