LGA unveils plans for additional house building
The government needs to lift the borrowing cap so that local councils can build more new homes. Innovative plans have been put forward by the Local Government Association (LGA) that are designed to end the housing shortage issue in the the UK and create the conditions for half a million additional properties to be constructed by 2020.At present, the Housing Revenue Account borrowing cap is severely restricting the ability of local authorities to deliver additional properties. Its removal would lead to the construction of an additional 80,000 homes over a five-year period. Brian Berry, chief executive of the Federation of Master Builders (FMB), is fully supportive of the move and he is glad to see the LGA has prioritised the issue of new homes."The FMB has long argued that central government should lift the Housing Revenue Account borrowing cap to allow councils to build more new homes. We are also supportive of financing solutions like the 'build now, pay later' deferred payment model," he added.This is just one of a series of measures identified by the LGA as it seeks to find a solution to the problem of inadequate housing stock. Government figures suggest 221,000 new homes need to be built every year, but only half that amount is currently being achieved. The body wants the government to put incentive schemes, such as guarantees or phased payments for infrastructure, in place to encourage private developers to speed up the delivery of housing.It also thinks the chancellor should create council-led local land trusts, as this would allow them to pool surplus central and local government land for housing and make decisions about its disposal. "Councils have set a precedent in the past and shown they can deliver housing on a large scale. It's time the next government learned from the past to build for the future," said new LGA chair councillor David Sparks.
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