Select Committee on Environment, Transport and Regional Affairs Minutes of Evidence

Supplementary Memorandum from the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions (EST 98G)


  I promised you in my letter of 9 July to let the Committee have an update on progress relating to Eland House and Ashdown House once we had received further information from the Property Advisors to the Civil Estate (PACE).

  As you are aware PACE are the Project Sponsors for the Eland House and Ashdown House scheme and as such have full responsibility for the project in accordance with Treasury guidance notes relating to the duties of project sponsors to fully protect government and discharge all necessary duties.

  The Department asked John Locke, the Chief Executive of PACE, for the information requested by the Environment Sub-Committee. PACE's response of 10 July emphasises that it could be some time before final liability and costs are known and therefore the Committee is asked to take into account, in producing their final published report, the sensitivity of the information in view of its possible impact on impending legal proceedings (Annex A).

  I also undertook in my letter to you of 16 July to let you have some indication of the pace at which we expected the backlog of renovation work in the local authority housing stock to be tackled. [Question 262.] The Government have announced today the outcome of the Housing and Regeneration Reviews. I enclose a copy of the full statement by the Deputy Prime Minister which has been deposited in the House Library and the Vote Office.[2] This follows the statement by the Chancellor of the Exchequer on the Comprehensive Spending Review in the House last week and explains in more detail the implications for housing and regeneration.1 I also enclose a note which explains our estimates of the need to spend on local authority housing and the likely outputs over the next three years from the additional investment in housing that has been announced [Question 289] (Annex B).

  The Committee asked for an explanation of how the previous Administration's 1999-2000 spending plans for DETR programmes compared with the plans for that year to emerge from this month's Comprehensive Spending Review. A table is attached which seeks to make that comparison. It is not altogether straightforward but we have tried to ensure it as clear as possible. The explanatory notes set out where the figures come from but the comparison is essentially between the spending plans in the CSR White Paper and those agreed in Autumn 1996 and set out in the 1997 Annual Report of the Environment and Transport Departments (Annex C).

  I shall be writing to you in the autumn with the information on the budgets for the Regional Development Agencies and with any further details we have on the progress on Eland House and Ashdown House.

John Ballard

2   Ev. not printed. Back

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