Councils given extra borrowing powers to help build affordable homes

Out-Law News | 08 Apr 2014 | 4:36 pm | 1 min. read

The UK Government will make £300 million worth of extra borrowing available to councils to enable them to build up to 10,000 affordable homes, communities secretary Eric Pickles has announced.

Councils can bid for a share of the funding which will be made available through an increase in their housing revenue account borrowing cap and invested in new affordable housing over two years from 2015.

The rules under the Local Government Act governing council land sales will change to allow more surplus and redundant land and property to be released for building homes.

Under the changed rules, councils will be able to sell vacant land at below market value to non-registered providers if the land is then used to build affordable housing. Currently they can only dispose of land in this way to registered providers of social housing.

"We have untied the hands of councils so they can take more responsibility for housing in their area," said Pickles in a statement. "Councils have built more homes in the last three years than under the whole of the last government. 170,000 affordable homes have been delivered since 2010, and housebuilding is now at its highest level since 2007."

"But there is still more to do. We are offering extra borrowing powers so councils can build more homes. We are also making it easier for councils to sell surplus and redundant property for new affordable housing, and they should consider what land they can release for the benefit of their local community," Pickles said.

Councils can submit bids and expressions of interest until 16 June 2014.