Select Committee on Deregulation and Regulatory Reform Sixth Report


Letter from the Chairman of the Committee to the Chairman of the Transport, Local Government and the Regions Committee

Proposal for the Regulatory Reform (Housing Assistance) (England and Wales) Order 2002

As you may be aware, on 20 November the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions laid before Parliament a proposal for a Regulatory Reform (Housing Assistance) (England and Wales) Order 2002, together with a statement from the Department for Transport, Local Government and the Regions. The Order would remove many of the detailed provisions that govern the way local housing authorities carry out housing renewal, and replace them with a broad power to allow authorities to provide financial and other assistance for home repair and improvement, subject to only limited constraints.

The Deregulation and Regulatory Reform Committee considered the above proposal at its meeting last week. Subject to a few outstanding issues on which the Committee has asked the Department for further information, and to confirmation from representatives of the parties affected that they are broadly content with what is proposed, the Committee does not anticipate having any great difficulty clearing the Order, which appears to represent a welcome relaxation of the bureaucracy which currently surrounds the provision by local authorities of assistance for housing renewal.

However, in view of the fact that your Committee is currently undertaking an inquiry into Empty Homes, and thus has a particular interest in the subject matter of this proposed Order, we thought it appropriate to ask whether you wished to draw our attention to any particular issues which might inform our consideration of it before we make our report to the House. We would therefore be pleased to receive any comments which your Committee may wish to make on the proposal.

As you know, the period for Parliamentary consideration of regulatory reform proposals is relatively short, so it would be helpful to receive an early reply. However, we understand that you may wish to consider your own Report on Empty Homes before replying. In the meantime, we would be happy to keep you informed of any further information we receive on the proposal, either from the Department or elsewhere.

22 January 2002

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