Debate on building more affordable housing - briefing, House of Lords, 25 October 2018


Key messages

  • The housing shortage is one of the most pressing issues we face. Councils have a key role in delivering more affordable housing and helping to build 300,000 homes a year. The last time this country built more than 250,000 homes a year, councils delivered more than 40 per cent of them.
  • It is fantastic that the Government has accepted our long-standing call to scrap the housing borrowing cap. This demonstrates the Government’s willingness to make councils central to solving the national housing crisis.
  • Ahead of the 2018 Budget, we are calling on the Government to clarify when the Housing Revenue Account (HRA) borrowing cap will be removed. We urge that this should be as soon as possible, and look forward to all councils being able to borrow to build homes.
  • The social housing green paper was a positive signal of intent. We were particularly pleased to see that the Government has listened to our concerns and dropped plans to force the sale of council homes.ii However, we would like a firmer commitment to building more social homes.
  • Councils want to encourage home ownership, without a corresponding decline in the number of social rented homes. It is therefore essential that the Government enables councils to keep 100 per cent of receipts from Right to Buy (RTB) sales to invest in new affordable housing.
  • A proactive, well-resourced planning system is vital to building homes. Councils are working hard to approve nine out of ten planning permissions. However, planning departments are severely under-resourced. Taxpayers are subsidising the costs of applications by around £125 million a year.
  • Local services face a funding gap of £7.8 billion by 2024/25. This funding gap will already stand at £3.9 billion by 2019/20.iii We want to work with the Government to ensure the  Spending Review delivers a sustainable funding settlement for councils.

 

Bright Futures

Budget 2018 - our submission

Unprecedented funding pressures and demand for key services is pushing councils to the limit. Councils have strained every sinew to play a vital role in supporting local economies and communities through a difficult few years.

Read our submission to the Budget