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DELIVERING DECENT HOMES - NUMBER OF NON-DECENT HOMES REDUCED BY ONE MILLION

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The government was today celebrating success in improving people's ...
The government was today celebrating success in improving people's

quality of life on the home front.

Deputy prime minister John Prescott revealed the number of

non-decent social homes has been reduced by one million since 1997.

He also announced up to£3bn to reduce this figure by a further

170,000 homes:

'This is a tremendous achievement which shows we are taking great

strides towards our aim of making all social housing decent by 2010.

Today's announcement will release a huge amount of public and private

investment to make even more homes warm, weatherproof and more

modern, as I outlined in the Sustainable Communities Plan.

'This government inherited a£19bn backlog of repairs. In 1997,

2.1 million homes owned by local authorities and housing associations

failed to meet the basic standards of decency which tenants deserve.

'We made it a priority to reverse decades of neglect - and we've

delivered. In the last 7 years, over£18 billion of public and

private money has transformed social housing in England.'

The 58 new schemes announced today will make homes decent by

installing new windows, kitchens, bathrooms, insulation and central

heating. They will draw on funding using the three designated routes

for councils who need extra resources to make their stock decent, and

include:

* 12 new arm's length management organisations (ALMOs)

* 37 new housing transfer schemes

* 9 Private Finance Initiative (PFI) schemes

Mr Prescott added:

'Today I met Molly, an 84 year old woman whose council home has been

improved for the first time in 50 years, thanks to our investment.

Her husband can finally use his wheelchair to wash unaided, due to

the enlarged bathroom. They also have a new kitchen and

double-glazing. That's the difference we're making to people's lives.

'We've not only improving homes for millions of people in every

region, we've also given tenants more contro l over the way their

homes are managed. This is all part of the important bigger picture

to create thriving sustainable communities that people are proud to

belong to.

'As part of our drive to achieve that, since 1997 we have:

* Doubled investment in council housing

* Doubled investment in affordable homes

* Unlocked£8.5bn of private investment through housing

transfer

* We're investing over£1bn in key worker housing - three times

the previous annual rate

* Created a£500m fund to tackle low demand for housing.'

Notes

1. Information on decent homes is available at

www.odpm.gov.uk/decenthomes

2. There are places being held open for 58 new schemes on our ALMO,

PFI and LSVT programmes. Together these schemes will further reduce

the number of non decent homes, by 170,000 homes, owned by councils

or housing associations. A breakdown of the schemes is at the bottom

of the notes to editors.

3. In 1997 2.1 million homes owned by local authorities and housing

associations fell below the decent homes standard. Information

provided by local authorities and housing associations indicates this

number has been reduced by 1 million since then.

4. The government aims to make all social housing decent by the end

of 2010. A decent home is one that:

* It meets the current statutory minimum for housing, which at

present is the 'Fitness Standard';

* It is in a reasonable state of repair - a home which fails to meet

this criterion will have either one or more 'key' building component

that are old and in poor condition or two or more 'other' building

components that are old and in poor condition;

* It has reasonably modern facilities and services - homes which fail

to meet this criterion lack three or more of a specified list of

facilities;

* It provides a reasonable degree of thermal comfort, ie it has

effective insulation and efficient heating.

5. Local authorities who requires extra resource s to deliver decent

homes can choose, with their tenants, between three options that will

provide extra investment. These options are:

- Arms Length Management Organisations (ALMOs), a company set up by a

local authority to manage all or some of its homes and make them

decent;

- Private Finance Initiative (PFI), in which the local authority

awards a long-term contract to a private sector operator who will

manage and maintain some of its stock over a 30-year period.

- Large Scale Voluntary Transfer (LSVT), where a local authority

transfers the ownership of all or some of its stock to a housing

association.

6. Under ALMOs and PFI the homes remain owned by the council and the

rights of tenants do not change. LSVT cannot take place unless the

majority of tenants vote in favour. All three aim to give tenants a

greater say in decisions about their homes and improve the quality of

services they receive by putting in place a dedicated management and

maintenance service.

7. Where extra resources are not required local authorities will make

their homes decent through retaining both ownership and management of

the homes.

8. Since 1997 125 local authorities have taken up one or more of the

above schemes.

9. We can also announce today a gap funding scheme will make LSVT

available as an option to those authorities whose housing stock has a

negative value (where the projected income stream over 30 years is

less than the expenditure needed over the period to put, and keep,

the stock in good condition). The gap will be bridged by staged

annual payments to the transfer housing association over a period of

up to ten years. ODPM will consult stakeholders on the details of the

gap funding scheme, which will be available to projects on the 2004

and subsequent programmes. The scheme will be targeted at areas with

a legacy of poor housing and will be managed from ODPM. It will

ensure the delivery of chosen options which deliver the best o utcomes

for tenants locally. The scheme will remove one of the barriers to

stock transfers and will fund only those transfers that demonstrate

value for money and for which all other sources of gap funding - eg

the private sector - have been exhausted.

10. The 58 schemes are listed below:

Local Authority Region Scheme

Bassetlaw East Midlands ALMO

Brent London ALMO

Ealing London ALMO

Eastbourne South East ALMO

Hammersmith & Fulham London ALMO

Newark & Sherwood East Midlands ALMO

Nottingham East Midlands ALMO

Rotherham Yorkshire & Humber ALMO

Sandwell West Midlands ALMO

Sheffield Yorkshire & Humber Partial ALMO

Slough South East ALMO

Wolverhampton West Midlands ALMO

London Borough of Islington London PFI

London Borough of Lambeth, London PFI

Manchester City Council, North West PFI

Kirklees Metropolitan Yorkshire & Humber PFI

Council,

London Borough of Croydon, London PFI

Cheshire County Council, North West PFI

West Wiltshire District South West PFI

Council

Kent County Council South East

Derby City Council East Midlands PFI

Broxbourne East of England LSVT

Ellesmere Port and Neston North West LSVT

Halton BC North West LSVT

Hyndburn North West LSVT

Kings Lynn and W Norfolk BC East of England LSVT

Lambeth London LSVT

LB tower Hamlets X17 PARTIALS London LSVT

Macclesfield North West LSVT

Manchester City Council X 4 North West LSVT - place

PARTIALS held open

Mid Devon South West LSVT

North Norfolk East of England LSVT - place

held open

North Somerset South West LSVT

Preston North West LSVT -place

held open

Sedgefield North East LSVT

Sheffield Yorkshire & Humber LSVT

Stafford BC West Midlands LSVT

Teesdale North East LSVT -place

held open

West Lancs DC North West LSVT

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