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HCA budget slashed by half

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The government has announced plans to cut the Homes and Communities Agency’s (HCA) budget in half and reduce its total number of directors from 12 to 6

As part of plans to transform the housing quango into an enabling body for ‘local community priorities’, the government will trim its £80 million budget to £40 million and close 13 of the HCA’s 17 offices.

It is understood Mayor Boris Johnson will inherit the agency’s functions in London.

As a result of the efficiencies the Treasury will save as much as £100m from its running costs by 2014-15.

Housing minster Grant Shapps explained: ‘Like all areas of the public sector, the changes I am announcing today mark the start of a process, not the end.

‘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, added: ‘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.’

The shake-up will see the HCA given the responsibility of social housing regulation when the Tenant Services Authority is abolished.

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