To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what guidance his Department has issued to local authorities and the Housing Corporation since 1 May 1997 on offering tenants incentives, apart from the cash incentive scheme and HOMEBUY, to relinquish a tenancy on move from an under-occupied property to more suitably sized accommodation.
My Department published good practice guidance on managing under-occupation in social housing in April 2001 entitled "Managing under-occupation: A guide to good practice in social housing". The guidance was widely disseminated to LAs, RSLs and other key stakeholders such as the Housing Corporation. The guidance provides good practice for those social landlords who are looking to increase the supply of family sized relets by assisting under-occupiers to move to a smaller property when they want to.
The guidance recognised that under-occupation is not necessarily a bad thing and in areas of low demand under-occupation strategies can be counter-productive. The primary concern for authorities must always be to ask "are we making the very best use of our stock" which requires looking at the problem in the wider context of Government policies on social exclusion and on building mixed and sustainable communities.
Copies of the guidance were placed in the Libraries of the House.