Homes and Communities Agency
Oral Answers to Questions — Communities and Local Government
Margaret Beckett (Minister of State (Housing), Department for Communities and Local Government; Derby South, Labour)
The hon. Gentleman's numbers are out of date. I think that £100 million was the original prediction for the HCA's running costs. The figure is now expected to be more like £86 million— [ Interruption. ] As I am sure the hon. Gentleman will appreciate—judging from the noises off, not all his colleagues do—it is believed that the amalgamation of the agency and English Partnerships, and the new structure of agencies, will result in substantial savings. From memory, I can say that those savings will be some £400 million, which will allow funding for a substantial number of new homes. I have not been scrutinising the detailed staffing arrangements for the agency, and neither do I think that it is necessarily useful for me to do so. However, it is typical of the Opposition to be much more interested in the number of employees, which they think they can criticise, than in the work being done by the agency, which is releasing thousands of new homes for the use of the British public.