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HOUSING INVESTMENT PROGRAMME ALLOCATED£1.5 BILLION

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Local authority Housing Investment Programme allocations will total some£1.5 billion for 1994-95, Housing Minister...
Local authority Housing Investment Programme allocations will total some £1.5 billion for 1994-95, Housing Minister Sir George Young announced today.

This includes £204 million for continuing Estate Action schemes. Total Estate Action resources of £373 million will form part of the Single Regeneration Budget for 1994-95. Details of local authority rent and management and maintenance guidelines for 1994-95 were also announced.

Sir George also released details of the Housing Corporation's Approved Development Programme for 1994-95 to 1996- 97. The Housing Corporation is confident that, subject to cost inflation remaining under firm control, the total capital expenditure of nearly £4.6 billion should result in well over 150,000 new homes becoming available over the three years.

In a Parliamentary Written Answer to Angela Knight MP (Erewash), Sir George Young said: 'I am today announcing a number of decisions about the provision of resources for housing in 1994-95.

'Local housing authorities will today receive their Housing Investment Programme (HIP) allocations for 1994-95. They total some £1.5 billion. Within that, £1,038 million are general purpose allocations, or housing 'annual capital guidelines'. As last year, these have been calculated 40% on the basis of a statistical assessment of local housing needs, and 60% on a discretionary basis related to published criteria. The primary criterion has been the efficiency and effectiveness of local authorities in making use of capital resources to meet housing needs.

'This year, for the first time, in addition to their bids for resources, local authorities have also been required to submit a separate housing strategy statement. Our aim is that these strategy statements should become important documents in their own right, setting out a planned framework for housing programmes looking at least three years ahead. They should present an all-embracing picture of the housing needs and resources of each area, covering not only the plans of the local authority, but also the contribution to be made by the private sector.

'In general, the picture emerging from the bids and strategy statements this year is one of continuing improvements in performance by local authorities, both in the management of their own stock and in their enabling role. Housing strategies are now better researched and the analysis of local problems and opportunities is conducted on a sounder basis.

'Local authorities are acting in a more corporate manner, drawing on all the available sources of funding and using their enabling powers to meet needs in fields such as Community Care. Further efforts have also been made to involve private housing interests, tenants and residents in the development of housing strategies.

'Authorities are also making increased use of the private sector to assist them in meeting the needs of those accepted as homeless. My announcement of both the Housing Investment Programme and Approved Development Programme resources today also demonstrates how the housing programmes of local authorities and housing associations are being brought closer together.

'Under the competitive HIP process, we have again been able to direct resources to a greater degree to local authorities who are best able to make use of them. I am glad to be able to publish today the names of the authorities who were judged the best performers in each region under the HIP process. All other authorities will have the assessment of their performance conveyed to them by the Department's regional offices. I am encouraged by the progress which many authorities have made this year, and hope that all authorities will continue to work for further improvements during 1994-95.

'A further £288 million has been allocated for private sector renewal and housing defects in the form of 'specified capital grant', to assist councils with their expenditure in these areas. As with the annual capital guideline allocations, 40 per cent of these resources has been distributed on a statistical assessment of local needs, and 60% on a discretionary basis.

The minister continued: 'From 1 April 1994, Estate Action will be part of the Single Regeneration Budget. Within the budget, £306 million will be available in 1994-95 for Estate Action schemes already under way. A further £67 million will be available for new schemes which will be approved under current Estate Action Guidelines. Local authorities are today being notified of the outcome of their bids for resources for new schemes next year, as well as of the resources being provided for continuing schemes. I am placing a list of the new schemes in the Library together with tables showing the latest position on the distribution of resources between authorities for continuation schemes.

'Turning to the Housing Revenue Account Subsidy Determination for 1994-95, I can today announce the main results of our consultation exercise. I intend to confirm the proposals to increase management and maintenance allowances by 4% overall and to continue to distribute the increase through a system of targets reflecting authorities' relative need to spend.

'For rent guidelines, I am confirming the proposal for an average increase of 7.5 per cent. This will result in an average increase in guideline rents of £2.20 per week over those which apply this year, with a range of between £1.50 and £2.90 for individual councils, bringing the national average guideline rent to £31.60. Responsibility for setting actual rents remains with individual local authorities. Housing Benefit will normally meet the whole of any rent increase for tenants receiving it.

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