§ Mr. Curry
I announced on 31 October 1996,Official Report, columns 192–93, the Government's decision in principle to sell the loans provided to housing associations by the Housing Corporation and Housing for Wales, subject to satisfactory final bids from the private sector for the portfolios.
My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Wales and I are happy to announce today that following further negotiations we have chosen NatWest Markets as the preferred bidder for both the English and the Welsh portfolios.
NatWest is one of the leading private lenders to housing associations, with a strong track record in this area. Once we have completed the final negotiations on the sale, I expect a successful transfer of these loans into the private sector, and a positive on-going relationship between housing associations and their new lender.