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Local Government Act 2003

Section 38: Loans by Public Works Loan Commissioners (PWLC)

68.Section 38 will enable the Secretary of State or the National Assembly for Wales to repay (in whole or in part) PWLC debts of certain local authorities in England and Wales who have housing functions. The debts to be repaid could include the amount of ‘overhanging debt’ by which the notional housing debt with the PWLC exceeds the reserved receipt from the housing transfer.

69.The types of local authorities whose debts may be repaid under section 38 are listed in subsection (5) of that section. They are the types of authority with housing functions: district councils, county councils for areas for which there are no district councils, London borough councils, the Common Council of the City of London, and the Council of the Isles of Scilly. In relation to Wales, they are a county council or a county borough council.

70.Section 38 allows the PWLC to determine the amount that the Secretary of State or the National Assembly for Wales must pay to extinguish a debt, or by which a payment by the Secretary of State or the National Assembly for Wales reduces a debt.

71.Section 38 allows the PWLC to refuse to accept a payment which the Secretary of State or the National Assembly for Wales proposes to make.

72.In some cases, where loans at fixed interest rates are repaid, a premium may be charged on early repayment. This could be included by the PWLC as part of the amount required to extinguish a debt under section 38.

73.These provisions will have no added public expenditure or manpower implications in England or Wales. A more general power has hitherto been used to make these payments in England. No such payments have as yet been made in Wales.

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