HC Deb 22 December 1997 vol 303 c457W
Mr. Ernie Ross

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what plans he has to ensure that local authorities have greater involvement in the transfer of Scottish Homes stock. [22472]

Mr. Macdonald

On 16 June, the Government announced new arrangements for Scottish Homes stock transfers to ensure that councils are much more directly involved in the transfer process in future. These included proposals to ensure that landlords intending to acquire Scottish Homes stock must be prepared to accept a local authority nominee on to its management committee if that is what the local authority wishes. This arrangements was brought into immediate effect and has been working well.

At the same time, COSLA and Scottish Homes were asked to get together to work arrangements to strengthen the role of local authorities in the assessment of future stock transfer proposals. These bodies have now produced joint guidance which has been issued today to all local authorities. The guidance sets out in detail how councils can be involved in the appraisal process and, depending on the stage which transfers have reached in the process, involves the council in the development local strategies and the appraisal of transfer proposals. These new arrangements will also give councils the opportunity to make their views known before a final decision on any particular transfer is sought.

I welcome and endorse the joint guidance which will allow for constructive liaison and discussion between Scottish Homes, councils and other parties to achieve proposals which have the backing of all concerned. It will also enable councils to satisfy themselves that transfer proposals are aimed at meeting the needs and aspirations of the tenants involved. Tenants' interests are paramount and I would emphasise that the final decision on any particular transfer will lie with the tenants themselves.