Select Committee on Office of the Deputy Prime Minister: Housing, Planning, Local Government and the Regions Minutes of Evidence

Memorandum submitted by Housing Corporation

Examination of Witnesses(Questions 353-359)




  353. Welcome to the Committee, this morning. Can I ask you to introduce yourselves for the record.
  (Dr Perry) I am Norman Perry, the Chief Executive of the Housing Corporation, and I am accompanied by Neil Hadden, the Assistant Chief Executive for Investment and Regeneration.

  354. Do you want to say anything by way of introduction or are you happy for us to go straight to questions?

  (Dr Perry) We have submitted a memorandum to the Committee, so we are very happy to answer questions.

Mr O'Brien

  355. In your memorandum, you speak of the future of the Housing Corporation and the fact that regional government will have an impact on the future of your organisation. What will be the future role of the Housing Corporation if funding allocations are handled by new regional authorities? Also, where will you stand when inspection responsibilities are transferred to the Audit Commission?
  (Dr Perry) If I can take the latter first. The decision to have a Single Housing Inspectorate was one that was announced in the spending review and, as you will know, the Deputy Prime Minister decided that it should be located within the Audit Commission. However, the regulatory function of the Housing Corporation remains unimpaired and the reports which the Housing Inspectorate produces on the services to tenants provided by housing associations will be reported to us in order that we can use them in forming regulatory judgments about housing associations. On the investment side, clearly the White Paper on the English regions envisages elected regional assemblies as having housing functions. There is an issue of when that happens and the parliamentary timetable has yet to be established, but we have at least a clear five years run of continuing to be the Government's main vehicle for housing investment and even then, when regional assemblies are in being, the Government of the day will need to consider how it wishes to deliver a national housing policy. So, we are fairly bullish about the future.

  356. Have you ever submitted any evidence either to the Department or to any other organisation as to the future of housing associations following the responsibility of regional government?
  (Dr Perry) I am sorry, the future of housing associations or the Corporation?

  357. The Corporation.
  (Dr Perry) On the future of the Corporation, since we are an executive non-departmental public body, we follow whatever instructions we get from the Government.

  358. Although there is the loss of the inspection responsibility to which you referred, what about the question of value for money or quality? You did say that they would report to you, did you not?
  (Dr Perry) That is right.

  359. So we are duplicating the situation, are we not?
  (Dr Perry) No, not really. We are the regulator of the 2,000 housing associations and we have—

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