MP welcomes 'level playing field' for Council tenants

February 14, 2006 5:38 PM

David Howarth has today welcomed the Government's u-turn over Council housing policy to create a level playing field for Council tenants who opt to remain with Council ownership.

At the moment Councils needing to make improvements to their social housing stock are faced with three choices: to transfer housing stock to a private Housing Association which provides investment, set up an Arms Length Management Organisation which can secure extra investment on the open market or engage in a private finance initiative (PFI). Tenants are balloted on each of these options but at present tenants who vote to remain with the Council are penalised as Councils are barred from borrowing money on the open market.

The Deputy Prime Minister, John Prescott, who had previously refused to allow extra investment while Council housing remained under Council control, has now announced that the Government will investigate how to allow Councils to retain their stock and invest to improve standards.

David commented:

"This is a positive development from the Government and I look forward to hearing specific proposals."

Executive City Councillor for Housing, Catherine Smart, added:

"We have been campaigning for a long time for a fair deal for all Council tenants so I welcome the beginnings of a Government u-turn on this. At the moment those who opt to remain with the Council are penalised to the tune of £3 million per year which could be spent on improvements to the houses. I hope that we will really see some clear action from the Government to end this unfair system this time and Mr Brown's Treasury doesn't squash this move."

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