Town halls bid to set up arms-length housing firms

11 Oct 01
Fourteen councils have bid to set up arm's-length management companies as an alternative to transferring their houses to a new landlord.

12 October 2001

The local authorities, which want to place around 200,000 homes under the charge of new companies, will hear next month whether their bids to the Department for Transport, Local Government and the Regions have been successful.

The DTLR is committed to spending £460m on arm's-length companies – £160m in 2002/03 and £300m the following year.

Councils wishing to make second-round bids for funding in 2003/04 must apply by February 2002.

The 14 councils submitting round-one bids are seeking a total of £945m. The largest bid is from Kirklees, which wants £136.4m to set up a company for 28,269 houses.

Other bids are more restrained. Salford, which proposes an arm's-length company for 29,873 houses, is only applying for £20m.

The DTLR pointed out the extra investment being sought would be spread over three to four years and was therefore not directly comparable with the £160m available in 2002/03.

But the Chartered Institute for Housing (CIH) and the housing advice service Choice for Housing this week claimed that at least 20 councils wished to make future bids.

'The Treasury will have to be persuaded that further funding should be made available at significantly higher levels,' said CIH policy director John Perry.

Before applying for funds to set up a company, councils must achieve a two-star rating from the Audit Commission's housing inspectorate and be shown to be improving.


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