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