HC Deb 16 December 1999 vol 341 cc249-50W
Angela Smith

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what guidance he intends to give local housing authorities on preparing business plans for their housing stock as part of the Government's new financial framework for local authority housing. [103347]

Mr. Raynsford

As part of our plans to introduce resource accounting to local authority housing finance, I have today published for consultation draft guidance for local housing authorities on preparing business plans.

The new financial framework will help authorities to take a more businesslike approach to the management of their housing stock, and business plans are a key part of the framework. The draft guidance and the associated models show how authorities can identify and assess alternative strategies for managing, maintaining and investing in their housing assets. I hope that authorities will take the opportunity to comment on the draft guidance and will look constructively at how it can be used to make the best use for current and future tenants of their housing assets.

Copies of the consultation paper have been placed in the Library of the House.

Mr. Pike

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions when he proposes to announce the outcome of the consultation on proposals to tackle overhanging debt arising from a housing transfer. [103348]

Mr. Raynsford

I am announcing today the outcome of the consultation on how we propose to tackle overhanging debt which arises when the capital receipt from a housing transfer is less than the attributable housing debt.

A consultation paper issued by the Department in August set out four alternative approaches to helping authorities deal with the overhanging debt: continuing to pay subsidy, through either the Housing Revenue Account or Revenue Support Grant subsidy schemes; providing a one-off payment to assist with the repayment of the debt; and transferring the debt to the acquiring landlord. The consultation paper made clear that the Government's preference was for the one-off payment option.

The majority of the responses supported our proposals to provide assistance to the local authority to repay its housing debt. We propose to implement this option.

I have placed in the Libraries of the House and the Vote Office copies of a guidance note setting out the detailed arrangements.