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Waverley Borough Council Committee System - Committee Document

Meeting of the Executive held on 03/06/2003
Local Authority Social Housing Grant (LA SHG) - Update



Summary & Purpose
This report advises Members of the latest position with regard to the abolition of LASHG by the Government from 1st April 2003.

Quality of Life Implications
Natural Resource Use
Pollution Prevention and Control
Biodiversity and Nature
Local Environment
Social Inclusion
Safe Communities
Local Economy
Natural
Resource Use
Pollution
Prevention and Control
Biodiversity
and Nature
Local
Environment
Social
Inclusion
Safe, Healthy
and Active
Communities
Local
Economy
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Negative
N/A
Negative


APPENDIX D
WAVERLEY BOROUGH COUNCIL

EXECUTIVE – 3RD JUNE 2003

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Title:

LOCAL AUTHORITY SOCIAL HOUSING GRANT (LASHG) - UPDATE

[Wards Affected: All]
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Summary and purpose:

This report advises Members of the latest position with regard to the abolition of LASHG by the Government from 1st April 2003.

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Social Inclusion

This report is concerned with the impact of a government policy change on Waverley’s ability to assist in the provision of affordable homes. How Waverley might support the provision of affordable homes in the future will affect the ability of some local people and key workers to live within the Borough.

Local Economy

This will potentially suffer if sufficient key workers are unable to live in the area due to a lack of affordable housing.

E-Government implications:

There are no e-government implications arising from this report.

Resource and legal implications:

The purpose of the report is to outline resource implications.

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Introduction

1. At the Council meeting on 18th February 2003, Members were advised of the Government decision to abolish LASHG with effect from 1st April 2003. The implications for Waverley Borough Council were outlined, together with officer response and actions at that time. This report outlines the current situation.

Background

2. LASHG was the mechanism that the Government used to reimburse local authorities, through the
Housing Corporation, for the financial support given to social housing schemes. The Housing
Corporation simultaneously reimbursed payments made by authorities to RSLs relating to schemes
in progress. When announcing the abolition of LASHG, the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister
(ODPM) announced transitional arrangements and, as requested by ODPM, details were submitted of schemes that were ongoing and Waverley was supporting during 2002/03 and those that were in the 2003/04 LASHG Capital Programme that fell within the Government criteria for transitional schemes ( Annexe 1).

3. Subsequent to submitting this information, local authorities were advised of the total amounts allocated by the ODPM as part of the transitional arrangements and they were also informed that transitional payments would be made direct to the Registered Social Landlord (RSL) by the Housing Corporation and not via the local authority as before. Therefore, although the affordable housing schemes that Waverley had budgeted to support should go ahead, from 1st April 2003, there is no further opportunity to reclaim LASHG grant from the Housing Corporation.

4. Waverley has explored the possibility of joint action, with other members of the Capital Receipts Group, against the Government’s decision to abolish LASHG. Indeed, prompt and effective lobbying by the Group probably helped bring about the improvement in transitional arrangements. However, the Group decided that any further action was unlikely to be successful and that it would dilute the main campaign, still ongoing, to stop the Government pooling housing capital receipts.

Resource Implications

5. Waverley’s capital strategy currently allocates 50% of right-to–buy receipts to affordable housing and 50% for ‘decent homes’ improvements. This amounts to some 1.6m for each category in a year.

6. The affordable housing element was used to finance new homes with RSLs. The RSL would identify a scheme in partnership with Waverley and Waverley would then support the scheme with Local Authority Social Housing Grant. The Housing Corporation immediately repaid this grant to Waverley. Having secured the affordable homes with nomination rights, the Council, being debt free, was able to pay the refunded grant into the Surrey Pension Fund to reduce ongoing costs to Waverley’s General Fund.

7. With the demise of LASHG, the Council’s financial strategy will need to be revised. However, the Council is still awaiting information from the Housing Corporation as to which 2002/03 and 2003/04 RSL schemes will be supported. It is expected that this will be known in July.

Conclusion

8. When this information is available it will be possible to assess the effect on:-

(a) Outstanding affordable homes schemes from 2002/03 and 2003/04,

(b) The consequences on the General Fund for 2003/04 and beyond; and

(c) How affordable homes might be supported in the future.

9. This assessment will be presented to Members as part of the financial strategy update at the Finance Seminar in September.

Recommendation

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Background Papers (DoF)

There are no background papers (as defined by Section 100D(5) of the Local Government Act 1972) relating to this report.

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CONTACT OFFICER:

Name: Glennis Pope Telephone: 01483 .523252
E-mail: gpope@waverley.gov.uk

comms/executive/2003-04/019