Published: 13th Nov 2013

New financial freedoms are allowing councils to get house-building started again. Traditional council homes and self-build schemes are increasing supply but are they enough to meet demand? Hamstrung by borrowing restrictions, their stock sold under the Right to Buy or transferred to housing associations, local authorities have not built new homes on any significant scale for 20 years. Nobody is pretending that the heyday of council housing is about to return any time soon but a recovery of sorts is now underway thanks to new financial freedoms. The decisive shift came in April 2012 when the coalition government implemented plans it had inherited from Labour to introduce self-financing for councils that retain a housing stock (around half of English authorities). This let them keep their own rents and some capital receipts in return for managing debt and meant that, within caps set by the Treasury, they could borrow for investment … (To read the full article, subscribe below)