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Tories claim £25m hole in housing plans

The Government’s flagship plan to build affordable and social housing faces a £25 million “back hole”, according to the Tories.

Under the Building Britain’s Future strategy, Prime MInister Gordon Brown announced last summer that 11,000 homes would be built.

To fund the £183 million project, he said money would be reallocated from other existing schemes.

But housing minister John Healey has revealed there is still £25 million yet to be identified.

In a written Commons answer, Mr Healey revealed efficiencies for 2010-11 would be found “at a later stage, following an assessment of performance and delivery options”.

Shadow housing minister Grant Shapps said this was “grossly irresponsible” and was likely to mean further borrowing to plug the shortfall.

A spokeswoman for the Department of Communities and Local Government said: “”It is quite right that the HCA seek continuing efficiency savings and build these into the delivery of its programme. Setting targets for the future delivery of such savings is prudent financial management – not a “black hole”.

“HCA are carefully managing all of their programmes and will look to identify these final savings throughout the rest of the year, and ministers are confident they will do this while delivering all of their targets.

“It is entirely appropriate to keep this situation under review given the nature of HCA’s programmes and the need to maintain flexibility across their business.”