Memorandum by Capital Receipts Group (HOU
The Capital Receipts Group is a cross-party
group of debt-free housing authorities from all over England.
(A list of 51 authorities supporting the group is attached.) The
group has been formed specifically to oppose Clause 10 of the
draft Local Government Bill. Some councils in the group still
retain their housing stock while others have transferred their
stock to a Registered Social Landlord (RSL); all are united by
their opposition to the proposal set out in Clause 10 (as explained
in the explanatory notes to the Draft Bill) that the Secretary
of State will take powers to sequestrate and redistribute Housing
Many members of the Capital Receipts Group are
concerned about the effect that Clause 10 of the draft Local Government
Bill will have on local authorities' ability to facilitate the
provision of affordable housing. As debt-free authorities members
of the Capital Receipts Group are currently able to spend 100
per cent of all their "Right to Buy" receipts and many
chose to do so on the provision of affordable housingif
Clause 10 is implemented then our members will lose 75 per cent
of their "Right to Buy" to a central pool and it is
unclear how much resource, if anything, will be received back
from the pool.
In his statement to the House on 18 July 2002
the Deputy Prime Minister, John Prescott said that, "tackling
housing shortage is a national responsibility and we must all
play our partcentral and local government alike".
The Deputy Prime Minister also stressed that "there need
to be not just more homes, but more homes that people can afford".
The Capital Receipts Group agrees that its members share a responsibility
to tackle housing shortage in their communities but implementation
of Clause 10 will undermine their efforts to provide more affordable
homes. The Government is jeopardising the partnership between
central and local government.
We believe that the suggestion that the Secretary
of State can take one community's assets and move them elsewhere
in the country is wrong in principle. The group accepts that the
Government has a role to play in allocating central resources
between local authorities but repudiates any claim that the Government
makes on any authority's own assets. Money raised from the sale
of our council houses should stay within our local communities.
Indeed this move could be seen as an attack on local democracy.
The Capital Receipts Group does not accept the
argument that borrowing supported by central government has funded
the provision and upkeep of authorities' housing stock. Some authorities
in the group have received negative housing subsidy for decades
and all authorities have invested substantial sums provided by
their tenants. The proceeds from the sale of these housing assets
should be re-invested locally, not become part of a national resource.