New borrowing powers for councils to help them build new affordable homes across the country have been announced by the Housing Minister Brandon Lewis.
The minister confirmed that 22 councils will be able to borrow an additional £122m over the next 2 years to deliver over 1,700 new affordable homes and support local growth.
But with £178m still up for grabs, Mr Lewis argued that more councils should be putting themselves forward – especially as many have asked for the very borrowing powers that are being offered.
In 2012, the Government changed the Housing Revenue Account subsidy system so councils keep all the rents they collect from their homes, and all receipts from any sales of houses or land, giving them the freedom to invest them in building new homes. Most recently, council housing starts have hit a 23-year high.
Already, 16 councils have been given the go-ahead to borrow £62m in additional funds to deliver over 1,000 new affordable homes.
Mr Lewis confirmed that a further £60m borrowing would be made available including to 6 new councils, taking the total to £122m additional borrowing powers granted to 22 councils, to deliver over 1,700 new affordable homes over the next 2 years.
But Mr Lewis said this was just the first step: with just 1 week left to bid for the second round of extra borrowing available, he challenged councils who had not already done so to come forward.
He said: “I’m giving borrowing powers to 22 councils who over the next 2 years will use that to build over 1,700 new affordable homes for their communities.
It’s one of the many things we’ve done that have got Britain building – with housebuilding levels now at their highest since 2007 and climbing.
But with £178m additional borrowing still up for grabs I want more councils to do their bit, to follow in the footsteps of these 22, and bid for the very powers they asked for.”