Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Decent Homes - doling out the dosh

Decent homes
Grant Shapps has announced plans for sharing out amongst councils £1.6bn of the £2.1bn allocated in the Spending Review for Decent Homes funding in 2011-15. The remaining £0.5bn will provided for 'gap' funding of stock transfers.

The money will go to councils who need it most, a move welcomed by councils who have retained their stock and ALMOs that have failed to achieve two stars, but raising fears from other ALMOs that they will be left short of cash to complete improvement works promised to tenants.

Ministers believe the previous system for allocating money was overly bureaucratic, and meant councils spent too much time and expense jumping through hoops, rather than making improvements to social homes.

Shapps said:
"Previously tenants were in the worst homes when landlords were denied Decent Homes cash because they did not play by the previous Government's rules. I believe that's completely unfair - tenants are missing out on vital improvements to their homes through no fault of their own.

"That's why I'm changing the system so from now on the areas that need the money most will get it. And it's why despite the steps the Government is taking to tackle the record deficit, we've set aside over £2bn to make sure these homes are brought up to scratch."
The HCA has published proposals for a process and criteria for allocating the decent homes backlog funding.

The funding will only be available to the 48 landlords whom the Business Plan Statistical Appendix (BPSA) returns suggest have more than 10% of their stock non-decent.

The assumption is that the freedoms and additional resources released by the planned HRA reforms will enable others to complete the programme without recourse to extra funding, although they will be able to make case for cash in exceptional circumstances. The consultation document also hints that some councils with between 10% and 20% non-decent homes may be denied funding if they have partially completed works on these outstanding properties.

Landlords applying for a share of the pot will be expected to participate in strategic procurement consortia or be able to demonstrate that they are achieving equivalent value for money through their own procurement processes.

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