Boost to council building welcome

“Many of us have worked long and hard for many years to secure these changes to local authority rental income and access to finance. The promised changes can provide a much needed boost to housing in these challenging times.

“The detail will be important and there are some risks involved. We know that over the years many local authorities have lost the capacity and skills to develop new homes – they will need to work quickly to build on existing and forge new partnerships with housing associations, lenders and private house builders. Time is of the essence.

“It is equally important that we do not lose or undermine the existing expertise and delivery of affordable housing by housing associations working with local government partners – remember this provided over 30,000 social homes last year.   Ultimately what matters most is more, good quality homes being built for families – not the nature of the developer.

“It is also essential that these reforms are put in place quickly otherwise there might actually be delays as land that could be built on is held back for when an authority is able to do it itself. We need to make sure that this does not happen and that the right deals are put in place to get things moving.”

Ms Webb added: “Finally, whether an authority wants to build new homes itself or continue to work through housing associations we mustn’t lose sight of services to existing tenants and communities.

"New homes are important, but the numbers are small compared with existing homes – the Prime Minister’s announcement about more support for tenants facing unemployment in these tough times is just as important.”

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