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Councils will lose housing control for wasting extra cash

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Local authorities are to be stripped of their control of social housing if they squander the £3.6 billion of extra cash they have been granted from chancellor Gordon Brown's comprehensive spending review.

Housing and regeneration ministers Hilary Armstrong and Richard Caborn published plans last week for regeneration of the worst neighbourhoods, improving social housing stock and ensuring it is properly managed and maintained. If it is not, a new Housing Inspectorate will either ask new commissioners to come in and run the under-performing housing programmes, ask neighbouring authorities to take over, or appoint private managers.

The £3.6 billion over three years - £800 million of it under the 'New Deal for Communities' programme for deprived areas - will allow for improvements in 1.5 million council homes.

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