Select Committee on Deregulation and Regulatory Reform Third Report


The Deregulation and Regulatory Reform Committee has agreed to the following Report:—

The draft Deregulation (Disposals of Dwelling-Houses by Local Authorities)

Order 2001

1. On 31 January 2001 the Government laid before Parliament the proposal for the Deregulation (Disposals of Dwelling-Houses by Local Authorities) Order 2001 in the form of a draft of the Order and an explanatory memorandum from the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions.[4] We have already reported on the Government's proposals for this draft Order, which provides for the amendment of the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 ("the 1993 Act").[5]

2. The 1993 Act governs the sale or disposal of local authority housing to registered social landlords ("RSLs"), principally housing associations. Where more than 499 dwellings are involved, the housing transfer is designated as a large scale voluntary transfer programme ("LSVT") and is regulated under section 135 of the 1993 Act. One of the effects of section 135 is that LSVT housing transfers must be completed by the end of the relevant financial year - that is to say, the year for which the disposals programme in which the transfer is included is made. The draft Deregulation Order would amend the 1993 Act to extend the time for the completion of LSVT housing transfers to the end of the financial year following that year.

3. The Committee's predecessor, following its consideration of the proposal, concluded that it met the criteria against which we are required to judge it.

4. However, the then House of Lords Select Committee on Delegated Powers and Deregulation questioned whether the drafting of the Order exceeded what is required to achieve the apparent policy purpose. Clarification was sought from the Department, who subsequently undertook to modify the Order so that provision under section 135 for an annual disposals programme is clearly spelt out on the face of the draft Order. This should ensure the retention of any protection given to the taxpayer under section 135.

5. The Committee's predecessor recommended that a draft Order taking into account the drafting concerns of the House of Lords Select Committee on Delegated Powers and Deregulation should be laid before the House.

6. The draft Order has been amended to address the concern of the then Delegated Powers and Deregulation Committee of the House of Lords; and to reflect the transfer of responsibility to the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions. In response to concerns from the Treasury, the Department is also expected to monitor the new policy to ensure that the proposed changes do not lead to a reduction in the efficiency of the transfer process. No further representations were received by the Department during the period for Parliamentary consideration.

7. We recommend unanimously that the draft Order should be approved.

4  Copies are available to Members from the Vote Office and to members of the public from the Department of Transport, Local Government and the Regions.  Back

5  Third Report, Proposal for the Deregulation (Disposals of Dwelling-Houses by Local Authorities) Order 2001, HC 327 of Session 2000-01. Back

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Prepared 14 December 2001