§ 9. Mr. Hugh Brown
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what advice he has received from the Housing 1157 Corporation in Scotland on the policy review report of the Scottish Special Housing Association; and if he will make a statement.
§ The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Scotland (Mr. Michael Ancram)
My right hon. and learned Friend has received no advice from the Housing Corporation. The chairman of the corporation and the Scottish Special Housing Association have, however, offered full co-operation on follow-up action.
§ Mr. Brown
It is so long since I tabled the question that I have almost forgotten why.
At first glance this seems to be more of a cosmetic approach than one of substance. Will the Housing Corporation consult housing associations now, before they make a submission to the Secretary of State, or will it be when the consultative document comes out in the spring, presumably just before a general election?
§ Mr. Ancram
Before we get to the consultation document, I have asked the SSHA for a progress report on the policy review. I have asked the association and the Housing Corporation about a joint liaison group to examine matters of mutual interest. I think that that is in the interests of housing in Scotland.
The consultation document on a potential merger will be issued next spring. It will be drawn up by the Government in consultation with the SSHA and the Housing Corporation. We should wait to see what the document says and then have a public debate on it. I know that the hon. Gentleman supports housing associations. This Government have underlined their commitment to housing associations by spending on average over £100 million a year in terms of capital. That compares well with the £90 million spent over the total period of the last Labour Government.