Examination of Witnesses(Questions 280-284)|
TUESDAY 22 OCTOBER 2002
280. It has been looked at now for a couple
of years. Is it not time they reached a conclusion?
(Mr Perry) It is being looked at at the moment as
part of the PSA plus review of achievement of the Decent Homes
standard. I suspect that soon we will get some conclusion.
281. Have you been consulted by the Department
on this specific issue?
(Mr Perry) Yes.
282. One of the issues is that some of these
charges might not necessarily be covered by housing benefit. Do
the changes announced last week to those arrangements suggest
any new issues or problems?
(Mr Perry) This area will remain a difficulty for
housing benefit because some parts of service charges will not
be covered by housing benefit, others will be covered if they
are genuine support charges by the new Supporting People arrangements.
The difficulty might be charges that fall in the gap between the
283. We are running out of time. Do you want
to say anything briefly about the Housing Market Renewal Fund?
(Mr Coulter) We are looking forward to it! As you
know from your previous inquiry, you received a lot of evidence
from us (the Chartered Institute) and others about the importance
of tackling the worst extremes of market decay, and we are very
keen to ensure there is a balance between the debates about the
south of the country and the housing market decline in parts of
the North and Midlands. We are very specifically keen to ensure
that there is as much freedom as possible for the Pathfinder areas
and othersit is not only Pathfinder areas that have the
phenomenon of low demand, they represent about half the stock
the Department itself estimateto be able to experiment
and to make sure that what they do through the partnership boards
being established is connected across the other regeneration schemes
for which government is responsible through different routes,
whether regional development agencies in the case of single budget
or the individual local authorities in th neighbourhood and other
284. Do you think we can solve these housing
problemsacute shortages in some parts of the country and
surplus housing in othersjust in housing terms or really
has it got to be much more effective regional development and
possibly much more effort to direct people to those areas of the
country where there is surplus housing?
(Mr Perry) We do want to see a move in that direction.
I was interested to hear your previous witnesses because I think
we do want to see some control of development in the South East
and more incentives to move to more deprived regions. In housing
terms I do not think we are going to crack this problem without
bigger economic opportunities in the North West and North East
where these low demand areas are concentrated.
Chairman: On that note, thank you very much
for your evidence.