Saturday, 25 March 2017

AS2013: Borrowing caps to be raised among package of housing measures

Council borrowing caps will be lifted by £300 million to fund the building of 10,000 new homes, the chancellor announced today.

Delivering his autumn statement, George Osborne said ‘we need to do more’ to address the undersupply of housing.

He said housing revenue account borrowing limits would be increased, as revealed exclusively by Inside Housing yesterday.

A total of £150 million will be made available from 2015/16, and an additional £150 million in 2016/17.

Councils will compete for the extra borrowing, which will part of the local growth fund run by local enterprise partnerships, with bids prioritised on value for money.

Along with a new initiative to sell high value vacant council houses, the government expect this to deliver 10,000 new homes.

Councils would be expected to form partnerships with housing associations, with bids also expected to contribute public land to boost their competitiveness.

The chancellor also announced £100 million to help council tenants access mortgage finance for right to buy. ‘Right to buy agents’ will also be introduced to help tenants complete purchases.

‘Some of the most important infrastructure is housing and we need to confront this basic truth,’ he told the House of Commons.

‘If we want more people to own a home, we have to build more homes… We are going to increase the housing borrowing limit by £300 million pounds.’

A total of £1 billion of funding will be directed towards delivering infrastructure capable of unlocking housing developments in nine sites – potentially bringing forward 27,000 homes.

Inside Housing reported in October this would include funding for a rail link in Barking to unlock 10,000 homes at Barking Riverside.

The government will also ‘explore’ providing repayable loans to kick start the regeneration of some of the country’s worst housing estates.

The chancellor also said council tenants could be given a ‘right to move’ if they wanted to relocate for reasons related to employment.

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