HC Deb 13 February 2004 vol 418 c326W
Sir Teddy Taylor

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what the total sum in local authority accounts derived from selling council houses is; how much the Southend-on-Sea local authority has in its account; and if he will review the purposes for which these funds can be used. [155309]

Keith Hill

Since 1980–81 to 2001–02, the last year for which we have audited figures, sales of Housing Revenue Account (HRA) dwellings for owner occupation have generated –23.490 billion in receipts for local authorities in England. The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister does not hold records for the amount generated by sales in Southend-on-Sea for the entirety of this period, but from 1998–99 to 2001–02 the receipts generated were £9.603 million.

Currently, with-debt local authorities, such as Southend-on-Sea, are required to set aside 75 per cent. of the capital receipt arising from the disposal of HRA dwellings for the repayment of their debt. They may use the remaining 25 per cent. to meet capital expenditure. Debt-free local authorities are exempt from the set-aside requirement and may use 100 per cent. of such capital receipts for any capital purpose.

The set-aside regime, which effectively provides resources for new capital investment by authorities generally, will cease to be available from 1 April this year, when a new capital finance system is introduced. Pooling is the regime that will replace set-aside. It will apply to debt-free as well as with-debt authorities—both will be required to pay to the Exchequer 75 per cent. of their receipts from the sale of council housing, to provide resources nationally for further capital investment in housing. They will retain 25 per cent. to meet such capital expenditure as they may decide. The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister believe these arrangements are appropriate and currently has no intention of reviewing them further.

Mr. Dobson

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister if he will list the councils which indicated that they did not want the fourth option of continuing council management of the homes to be improved during the course of the Government's Decent Homes consultation. [155499]

Keith Hill

The Government set out their 'Decent Homes' programme in "Quality and Choice: A Decent Home for All-The Way Forward For Housing" published December 2000. 70 housing authorities are now in the process of implementing the programme by means of PFIs, stock transfers, ALMOs and mainstream funding. The remaining authorities are to have completed the options appraisal process by 31 July 2005.