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District councils building homes at “considerable” pace since borrowing cap lifted, report shows

Houses of Parliament and Portcullis House from Westminster Bridge

More homes are being built and planned for by more district councils in more places as a result of the lifting of the Housing Revenue Account cap, but additional freedoms for non-stock holding councils could accelerate plans still further, a new report published today reveals.

A survey commissioned by the District Councils’ Network (DCN) in partnership with the Local Government Information Unit (LGiU), shows that building plans are already advancing for a third of stock holding districts.

And no councils are standing still. The remaining two-thirds are beginning to embark on plans to increase the supply of new homes, but need more powers and resources to effectively manage local housing markets.

As well as certainty of future funding needed to plan effectively, districts need support from government agencies to speed up development, and local control over the discount levels and the time period for retention of Right to Buy receipts.

DCN Chairman Cllr John Fuller said:

“All councils just want to get on and build homes people need. Stock holding authorities have had a head start in getting back into the housebuilding industry.

“HRA freedoms are a welcome start but the Government needs to allow us to go further. It must reform Right to Buy, implement a streamlined Compulsory Purchase Order process, introduce step-in rights to intervene on stalled proposals, and release Housing Infrastructure Funding to enable all areas to contribute to getting a roof over everyone’s head.”

Jonathan Carr-West, Chief Executive, Local Government Information Unit (LGiU), said:

“Today’s report highlights the great strides that district councils have made in rising to the housing challenges of the last few years.

“The scrapping of the HRA borrowing cap has opened many doors for District councils up and down the country to build and plan for new homes.

“And, while this should be celebrated, it is unacceptable that councils still have no clear indication about how they will be funded this time next year. This is a massive hindrance on their ability to further plan for the future and build the homes that are desperately needed in their communities.”

NOTES TO EDITORS

  1. The full report, “Districts building for the future: The impact of the removal of the HRA borrowing cap”, is available here.
  2. The report is based on a survey of 51 DCN members, in both stock-holding and non-stock-holding authorities from across England, as well as a series of interviews with housing officers across the country.

ENDS

CONTACT: DCN media office, 020 7664 3333

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