Housing experts have welcomed John Healey's announcement today of a "radical new council housing deal".
Housing experts have welcomed John Healey’s announcement today of a “radical new council housing deal” that offers councils the freedom to fund and run their own housing in a deal that will release at least 10 per cent more money in every council for maintaining and managing their homes. It will also create the funding capacity to build more than 10,000 new council homes a year, with 4 million people living in 1.8 million homes getting better homes and better housing services from their council.
Under the new system councils will keep all the rent they collect from their homes and all the receipts from any sales of houses or land – with none of the proceeds going to central Government, in return for the councils accepting a share of an additional £3.65 billion debt. David Orr, chief executive of the National Housing Federation, told Left Foot Forward:
“With a record 4.5m people stuck on housing waiting lists in England alone, any move which increases the supply of affordable homes is very welcome. The Government will want to ensure that local authorities offer the same value for money as housing associations – by building social homes at the lowest possible cost to the taxpayer.
“Housing associations are able to match every pound of public finance with a pound from their own resources, and unlike councils can raise funds privately. This meant housing associations were able to build over 45,000 new homes last year, the highest figure in a decade.“
The response from landlords was also supportive, Vincenzo Rampulla of the National Landlords Association describing the plans as “a positive step”. Speaking to Left Foot Forward, he said:
“We’re cautiously optimistic about this announcement, if this delivers more choice to people who have different housing needs then that is a positive step. The main thing that we’ll be looking for is how councils intend to fund the management of the new properties they’re going to build to maintain standards for their tenants. That is the thing that is going to really impact on council tenants’ lives in the long run.”
Earlier, housing minister John Healey had described the proposals as “an opportunity for radical change” that would enable councils to “provide better services and better meet the needs of local people”, adding:
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“This is a once and for all settlement between central and local government. It will bring council house funding up to date replacing a system which was introduced before the Second World War. Councils will get the freedom to fund and run their council homes, without central Government subsidy…
“And it will create the funding capacity to build over 10,000 new council homes a year. Above all it will mean 4 million people living in 1.8 million homes will get better homes and better housing services from their council. This is a change which councils have been calling for, and which has cross party support.”