§ Mr. Willetts
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he intends to develop further the new approach introduced last year to the allocation of resources within the local authority housing investment programme process.
§ Sir George Young
I intend to carry forward the new arrangements made last year with two significant new points of development. First, I propose to extend the emphasis on ensuring that the processes for allocating capital funds to local authorities are focused on the vital issue of improving the performance of authorities and getting best value from the money that is available for social housing. Secondly, in association with this and consistent with the need for a strategic approach, I intend to draw together, at a local level, both the housing investment programme (HIP) process, which applies to local authorities, and the approved development programme (ADP) process, which is used for the allocation of funds through the Housing Corporation to housing associations.
A consultation paper has today been sent to the relevant local authority associations and their members; to the National Federation of Housing Associations and the major developing associations; and to the Institute of Housing, seeking views and comments on these and other proposals to develop the local authority HIP round. The proposals involve the preparation by local authorities of comprehensive housing strategies and the way in which resources will be allocated by central Government.
The Government's overall objective is to secure the best value for money from the considerable volume of resources allocated to local authorities within the HIP process. All the proposals which we have put forward will support this aim by encouraging local authorities to be 197W efficient and effective in their roles as landlords and enablers of social housing and in promoting better co-ordination and closer partnership at local level between authorities, housing associations and the private sector.
Last year, housing Ministers attended a number of successful presentations from local authorities, based on their housing strategics and HIP proposals. These occasions heightened the awareness and involvement of tenants and other local people in the HIP round, and pointed to the scope for partnership between local authorities, the private sector, and the Housing Corporation and housing associations in the provision of social housing. We propose to continue this initiative during the coming year, by inviting some authorities to give presentations in the course of Ministers' regular round of visits, and others to give more structured presentations in the course of the HIP round.
A copy of the consultation paper has been placed in the Libraries of the House. Views and comments arc invited by 26 June. I intend to report back to the House shortly thereafter.