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'LET PUBLIC HOUSING USE PRIVATE MONEY' SAY MPS

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Twenty four MPs will be bring pressure on the Government to allow private finance to be brought into public housing...
Twenty four MPs will be bring pressure on the Government to allow private finance to be brought into public housing. Currently, the Public Sector Borrowing Requirement, (PSBR), restricts local authorities form borrowing private money to invest in housing. Housing campaigners point out the private money is urgently needed for repairs to local authority homes for which there is a£20b backlog.

The call for a review in the current accounting framework was tabled as an Early Day Motion on Monday, 6 April 1998, by Stephen Hesford, MP for Wirral West. He said: 'There is crisis in the disrepair of council housing which need to be tackled. Many families live in houses which urgently need modernisation. A change in current public accounting framework would allow local authorities to reorganise their housing functions in order to remedy this problem.'

The Chartered Institute of Housing, long-time campaigners on this issue, have welcomed the support from MPs. They favour the adoption of the General Government Financial Deflect, (GGFD) as the central measure of expenditure; a practice used in Europe.

John Perry, Director of Policy at the Institute, considers this to be an effective way of freeing local authorities to generate private finance for much needed housing repairs. He said: 'If the PSBR constraint was lifted it should be possible to fund additional investment in council housing in the order of£1-2bn each year.'

EARLY DAY MOTION

PROPOSED BY STEPHEN HESFORD MP

'This house notes that the Chartered Institute of Housing has estimated that there is a backlog of repairs of council housing of£20 billion and whilst welcoming the Government's phased release of capital receipts, it is urged that the Government consider reviewing the current public accounting framework; to place greater emphasis on the General Government Financial Deficit; to allow local authorities to reorganise their housing functions to enable them to borrow private money to establish a level playing field between local authorities and housing associations, which are currently allowed to borrow private finance.'

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