§ Mr. Wyn Roberts
I beg to move amendment No. 69, in page 67, line 32, leave out' acquiring and disposing of houses 'and insert' disposing of dwellings '.
§ Mr. Roberts
In Committee we undertook to introduce amendments to incorporate into the improvement-for-sale scheme dwellings already in the ownership of local authorities.
The clause at present covers only houses acquired after enactment, but the amendments will make it possible for Exchequer contribution to be paid when local authorities improve and sell houses that they already own. This will offer a real opportunity for local authorities that have unoccupied and unimproved houses that they have already acquired from the private sector to get on with the necessary improvement work and to bring such houses back into use. I am sure that the Opposition will welcome this extension of the scheme.
The second of these amendments will remove the reference in lines 40 and 41 to the amount received on sale being less than the cost of acquisition and works. 388 This part of the amendment is being made for technical reasons and not with any intention of changing the underlying concept of the improvement-for-sale scheme.
Where an improved dwelling is sold outright with a mortgage provided by, for example, a building society, the actual amount received by the local authority is the appropriate figure to be used in determining the net cost to the local authority. But if the sale takes place on shared ownership terms, for example, or if the local authority itself provides the mortgage finance, using its powers under section 104 of the 1957 Act, the amount received will not be a true basis for calculating the net cost for the purposes of Exchequer contribution and the scheme will need to provide for net costs to be arrived at by reference to the value of the improved dwelling.
The effect will be no different in principle, but because of the number of different circumstances that will have to be covered it is more appropriate for this issue to be dealt with within the scheme itself rather than by extensive provision on the face of the Bill.
The second of the amendments will also enable contributions to be paid when two houses have been combined to form one dwelling. I do not expect that there will be many such cases, but sometimes individual houses or flats are too small to be viable after improvement, and it would be wrong to rule out the possibility of turning them into satisfactory houses.
The amendment to clause 119 will make parallel changes in the improvement for sale arrangements for housing associations.
§ Amendment agreed to.
Amendment made: No. 70, in page 67, line 34, leave out subsection (2) and insert—
' (2) Those cases are where an authority—