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'72FA Sixth exception: Registered Social Landlords
1. Section 72A does not prevent the appointment of an administrative receiver of a company which is a registered social landlord at the time of the appointment.
2. Section 72A does not prevent the appointment of an administrative receiver of a company which, at the time of the creation of the relevant qualifying floating charge, was either:
(a) a registered social landlord; or
(b) a housing association registered as such in the register previously maintained pursuant to Part I of the Housing Associations Act 1985.
3. In subsections (1) and (2) "registered social landlord" means a body registered as a social landlord pursuant to section 3 of the Housing Act 1985 or, as the case may be, section 57 of the Housing (Scotland) Act 2001.'.
'other than a society which is, or at any time has been, a registered social landlord or a housing association registered as such in the register previously maintained pursuant to Part 1 of the Housing Associations Act 1985.'.
'(2A) In sub-section (1) "registered social landlord" means a body registered as a social landlord pursuant to section 3 of the Housing Act 1996 or, as the case may be, section 57 of the Housing (Scotland) Act 2001.'.
Mr. Waterson: The amendments involve serious issues affecting the social housing sector. They were initially proposed by the Council of Mortgage Lenders, which has been working closely on the matter with the National Housing Federation. Let me say immediately that there is a typographical error in amendment No. 13, which should read, "Housing Act 1996", not "Housing Act 1985". If the Minister were to accept the amendment, I am sure that it would not be beyond the wit of the parliamentary draftsmen to correct that minor error.
All three amendments concern registered social landlords, 85 per cent. of which, according to the National Housing Federation, are also industrial and provident societies. Amendment No. 13 would exempt lenders to registered social landlordsRSLsthat are companies from the prohibition on appointing an administrative receiver. It would amend the clause, giving the Secretary
Some £25 billion has been lent to RSLsmainly housing associationsfor new build, repair and improvement to social housing. As I said, the vast majority of RSLs are also I and PsI hope that this will come out all right in Hansard. There is a trend for newer RSLs to be established as companies, especially those involved in large-scale voluntary stock transfers. Unsurprisingly, the availability of competitively priced private loan finance is crucial to the Government's target of achieving the decent homes standard within 10 years. I can speak with a little authority about that, having been a shadow housing Minister in a previous incarnation. If the Minister is in favour of joined-up Government, I am sure that she will want to listen carefully to the rationale behind the amendments.
Amendment No. 318 would amend clause 249, which was added to the Bill in Committee and gives the Secretary of State power to bring in an administration regime for industrial and provident societies. At present, 85 per cent. of registered social landlords are in that category. The Council of Mortgage Lenders observes that
At present, there is no power to appoint an administrative receiver in respect of an industrial and provident society, but lenders can, using their status as fixed charge holders, appoint a receiver under contract offering similar advantages. The introduction of administration to I and Ps will cut across that right. The CML says:
Miss Melanie Johnson: Amendment No. 13 would provide a general exemption from the prohibition on the appointment of an administrative receiver over a registered social landlord. That would apply to RSLs that are companies and industrial and provident societiesthe large majoritywhich can technically be subject to a floating charge. However, lenders do not insist on making such charges since the property is entirely land, and industrial and provident societies cannot be subject to administration.
The arguments for a special exemption seem to be based on the cost and availability of finance. Indeed, the hon. Member for Eastbourne (Mr. Waterson) emphasised that. We have listened carefully to the arguments, but we are not persuaded that there is a case for exemption for that group of lenders.
Our proposals for prohibiting administrative receivership in favour of a streamlined administration procedure will strike a fair balance between creditors and debtors. They will not affect the rights of lenders to make a floating charge, but will simply provide for its exercise through a fairer, collective framework. The new administration procedure offers flexibility, speed and adequate safeguards for the interests of floating charge
Let me consider amendments Nos. 318 and 319. They would remove RSLs that are industrial and provident societies from the power in clause 249 to extend administration to industrial and provident societies. I know that representatives and advisers of RSLs in that sector are worried that the power in clause 249 to extend administration to industrial and provident societies in the social housing sector could, if exercised, have an adverse impact on it. They fear that the administration moratorium may interfere with the existing arrangements under the Housing Act 1996, which already provides for a moratorium in the case of a registered social landlord in financial difficulties.
The Government would not wish to use the enabling power to extend administration to parts of the industrial and provident sector where it would be contrary to its interests to do so. Equally, we want to seek a broad range of views and do not want to rush into any decisions. Any exercise of the power will be made following full consultation, when that important issue will be examined with others that affect the whole industrial and provident sector. I assure the Opposition that we appreciate the subject's importance.