Following the announcement by the Conservative Government that they are going to relax the rules and allow councils to borrow to build affordable council housing again, we had a welcome major u-turn from Labour in full council yesterday.
Conservative Housing Committee Councillor Mary Mears asked the following oral question “Following on from the governments recent announcement for the removal of the housing revenue cap. As a matter of policy; Will the council be looking at all general fund sites coming forward for the Joint Venture to be offered to the Housing Revenue Account First?”
To shock from the public gallery Councillor Meadows responded “Thank you. I would be happy to agree to that”.
Earlier on it was announced that less than 130 new council homes have been delivered since 2015, which is well below the promised 500 council homes.
Mary Mears went onto say that in 10 days the Government are due to announce the policy changes around the Housing Borrowing Cap. She stressed the importance of council homes on council land and the fact that some renters were getting a bad deal from private landlords.
In relation to the controversial £80m pound Joint Venture with Hyde Housing Councillor Meadows said “Its unfortunate that the officers have spent six months putting a case and bid together for £80m if they relaxed the cap a little. But if they (the government) scrap the cap we can go full steam ahead”.
Should the Right To Buy scheme also be scrapped to ensure new council homes cannot be sold again for profit to the private sector?