§ Mr. Jim Cunningham
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what steps have been taken by his Department in respect of the initiative proposed by Coventry City Council for the development of a local housing company under the stock transfer programme. 
§ Mr. Raynsford
Coventry City Council submitted an application for the 1998–99 housing stock disposals programme for the transfer of all 20,500 of their dwellings to a new local housing company. This scheme was not accepted because it presented us with a number of difficulties that could not be resolved in the short term—not least that the number of properties affected substantially exceeded the 12,000 threshold which the Government have set for transfers to a single new landlord. My officials do, however, intend to work closely with Coventry over the coming months to try and resolve these issues so as to make the scheme workable.