13 February 2004
Ministers are pressing Chancellor Gordon Brown to provide money for more arm's-length management organisations to run council housing.
In an interview with Public Finance, housing minister Keith Hill scotched suggestions that the current Almo programme might be the last.
In the current Spending Review, almost £2bn was provided for Almos up to 2005/06. Once the fourth round gets under way in the next few months, there will be 58 in operation.
Although this summer's Spending Review is expected to be tight, Hill said he appreciated that most tenants would prefer an Almo to a stock transfer to a housing association.
'I can understand why tenants prefer to have their homes remain in the ownership of the local authority, as under an Almo, with the associated reassurances about tenancies and rents,' he said. 'We would expect that programme to continue.'
If the Almo programme grinds to a halt, ministers would be dependent on transfers and the Private Finance Initiative to meet the decent homes target.
A full interview and profile of Keith Hill will appear in next week's Public Finance