management of its housing stock of 6,022 tenanted dwellings to
Havebury Housing Partnership, a new local housing company.
council will use part of this receipt for 180 additional social homes
in the borough.
Housing minister Tony McNulty said the transfer will ensure tenants
have a greater say in the managing their homes, including receiving
modernisation and repairs during the next five years to achieve the
Government's decent homes standard.
'Havebury Housing Partnership will have access to additional private
funding, providing tenants the opportunity to receive an accelerated
programme of repairs and improvements to their homes at an affordable
rent. This is consistent with social housing of a similar standard in
The council held a ballot of tenants in September-October 2001. Of
those who voted, 71 per cent supported the proposed transfer.
Today's announcement brings the number of approved large-scale
voluntary transfers of local authority housing stock to 126,
involving 625,000 homes. These transfers have raised more than£10bn in private finance to purchase and invest in the housing
stock, forming a key part of the government's commitment to bring all
social housing up to a decent standard by 2010.
1. Provision to set up Local Housing Companies (LHCs) appears under
the Housing Act 1996. LHCs allow greater local authority and tenant
participation than other registered social landlords such as
2. Under the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act
1993 a local authority proposing a transfer of more than 499
dwellings must first obtain a place on an annual programme approved
by the secretary of state. Councils must then obtain the consent of
the secretary of state under the Housing Act 1985 for each transfer
after it has formally consulted its tenants.
3. This is the first LSVT incorporating the 'VAT shelter'. This
involves the new landlord paying a higher receipt including an
estimate of the stock after improvements. The council then
immediately repay all or the majority of the part of the receipt
relating to the improvement costs and contract these works out at
zero rate VAT. The consequent VAT saving is that typically used to
improve the new landlord's business plan and hence the service
provided to tenants though can be used, or partly used, to boost
the receipt to the council for the stock. The decision on this
split is for agreement by the parties involved, although the ODPM
would expect councils to maximise the receipt in the case of an
overhanging debt LSVT.
- In St Edmundsbury's case, around one third of the VAT saving has
been used to guarantee a receipt of£45.1m, as above,
against the effect of any right to buys prior to transfer. The
remainder will be used to benefit Havebury Housing Partnership's