New Towns (Housing Assets)

Oral Answers to Questions — Environment – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 6 May 1981.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Mr Hilary Miller Mr Hilary Miller , Bromsgrove and Redditch 12:00, 6 May 1981

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he has yet determined the financial terms for the transfer of housing assets in second generation new towns; and if he will make a statement on the issues so far unresolved.

Photo of Mr Geoffrey Finsberg Mr Geoffrey Finsberg , Camden Hampstead

My right hon. Friend is considering the position in the light of the Association of District Council's reaction to the proposals we put forward. Our intention is that transfer should not place a major burden on the receiving authority and it is largely a question of deciding how this should be done in the light of the new housing subsidy system.

Photo of Mr Hilary Miller Mr Hilary Miller , Bromsgrove and Redditch

I thank my hon. Friend for the constructive remarks and positive attitude that he displayed this morning on repairs and staff. Does he accept that news of his proposals has not, for instance, reached the Redditch district council? There is great concern about the terms and time of transfer. Will he take this opportunity of confirming that he would approve of an agency agreement in the absence of any agreement on terms of transfer being reached in the near future?

Photo of Mr Geoffrey Finsberg Mr Geoffrey Finsberg , Camden Hampstead

Negotiations take place between the Government and the Association of District Councils. I cannot say what communications the association has had with individuals, although one member of Redditch council is a member of the committee that negotiated with me. I can only assume that the association has not yet put a view to individual authorities. I have already said to my hon. Friend that we would not oppose agency agreements as a transitional stage.

Photo of Mr Arthur Newens Mr Arthur Newens , Harlow

What guarantee can the Minister give that the same disgraceful delay will not take place over the settlement of the financial arrangements for second generation new towns as has taken place over the settlement for the transfer of houses in first generation new towns, to which we have already referred during Question Time in respect of section 10 grants?

Photo of Mr Geoffrey Finsberg Mr Geoffrey Finsberg , Camden Hampstead

There are two reasons why this will not happen. First, we anticipate that the overwhelming bulk of the stock will be in good condition when it is transferred. Secondly, we firmly believe that if the association had accepted the offer that I made to it several months ago the issue could well have been settled.