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Wed October 28 2020

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HCA cut in half

24 Nov 10 The running costs of the Homes & Communities Agency (HCA), as well as the number of its directors, are to be halved as part of the government’s cost-cutting cull of quangos.

Running costs will be reduced from £80m a year to £40m. The number of directors is being reduced form 12 to six. The number of offices will also be cut over time from the current 17 to perhaps as few as four. Details of this will be sorted as the broader rationalisation of the Department of Communities & Local Government (DCLG) takes shape.

Housing Minister Grant Shapps said that the HCA would be transformed a smaller enabling body. He said that government would still be investing £6.5bn in housing, with £2bn to improve existing social homes and £4.5bn to fund new affordable homes.

HCA is working with the DCLG on the detailed design of these new programmes. Consultation begins in January. In addition, plans are being developed for the Agency to hand over its functions in London to the mayor, and to take on the remaining responsibilities of the Tenant Services Authority, which is being abolished.

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Shapps said: "We are committed to building more affordable homes and regenerating local communities. The HCA will play a vital role in delivering this radical agenda, but with a new working ethos of communities in charge, drawing on the expertise that the HCA has to help them achieve their priorities. The plans we are announcing today will enable local communities to do just that - while also saving the taxpayer over £100m.

HCA chief executive  Pat Ritchie said: "Government has given the HCA an important role in meeting the housing and regeneration priorities of local authorities and communities, and in regulating the housing sector to command lender confidence and protect the taxpayer. We have therefore created a top structure with a strong local focus that will provide effective leadership and engagement with local partners while saving money. Further changes will flow from this top structure, maximising the potential of our expertise and investment to help local authorities achieve ambitions for their own areas."

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