§ Ms. Harman
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what information he has on the number of empty properties purchased by housing associations or other bodies as a result of the policy changes announced in the autumn statement and the number which have been used to provide additional social housing.
§ Mr. Baldry
The latest figures from the Housing Corporation show that by 19 February approvals for the purchase of 16,666 properties had been granted, with 5,755634W purchases actually completed. This means that already our original target of 16,000 purchases has been exceeded, using only 93 per cent. of the funds allocated, and nearly 6,000 families have been housed. The corporation now estimates that housing associations in England will be able to buy over 17,000 homes for those in need as a result of the allocation in the autumn statement. Another 3,500 purchases will be made possible through cash grants to local authority and housing association tenants to become home owners. All the homes purchased by housing associations or freed by existing tenants will be used to provide additional social housing. I congratulate the corporation and housing associations involved on their excellent work.