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ROBERTSON ANNOUNCES£187.9M COUNCIL HOUSING INVESTMENT

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Scottish housing minister, Raymond Robertson, today announced that local authorities would be allowed an additional...
Scottish housing minister, Raymond Robertson, today announced that local authorities would be allowed an additional £16 million in housing capital allocations during the current year and a further 171.9 million for council house investment in 1997-98, a rise on this year's figure.

The announcement was made when Mr Robertson met representatives of the Social Affairs Forum of the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA).

Mr Robertson said: 'Substantial resources were made available to local authorities earlier this year for investment in their housing stock, but I am aware that a number of authorities are facing particular pressures on their housing programmes.

'I have therefore announced today that the secretary of state is making an additional £16m available in the current year.

'A total of 18 authorities will be able to benefit from this extra funding which will enable them to maintain their investment programmes.

'I have also announced the housing capital allocations for next year. The total net allocation at £171.9m is higher than those issued to councils in 1996-97 (£171m) despite a tight public expenditure round.

'Some adjustment of the allocations to individual authorities has had to be made to take account of the effect of changes in the use of capital receipts, but overall the resources allocated are higher than the last two years.

'In addition, councils will be able to increase the resources at their disposal through the recycling of a proportion of the capital receipts they raise from the sale of land and houses.

'On their own estimates councils expect to generate nearly 50 million of usable receipts from this source. However, the potential receipts could be greater if councils actively pursue a strategy of involving the private sector through the transfer of stock to other landlords.

'I would encourage all authorities to pursue this option vigorously.

'I have also announced that the Government will be paying some £15.2m of Housing Support Grant to local authorities next year to assist with their housing costs.

'Of this sum £3.3m is being given to assist with the running costs of hostels for the homeless.

'In the longer term I have confirmed that the Scottish Office will be discussing with the authorities concerned the possible commutation of part of their housing debt to remove their need for an annual subsidy.'

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