Councils are best placed to help build the right houses in the right locations to help solve the housing crisis. To support them, Government must enable councils to invest in housing by lifting the Housing Revenue Account borrowing cap, for example.
We're calling on the Government to:
Government must support this by:
- removing borrowing for housing investment from contributing towards public sector debt, allowing the Housing Revenue Account borrowing cap to be lifted and providing financial flexibilities and a stable and sustainable long term framework for councils to build new homes, of all tenures, through delivery vehicles and housing revenue accounts
- building a new wave of different affordable housing options linked to a new definition of affordable housing as being of a cost that is 30 per cent of household income or less
- devolve housing and infrastructure funds to enable councils to join up investments that more efficiently build homes where there is unmet demand, for instance homes that are attractive to older people looking to 'rightsize'.
Government must act now by:
- applying a duty on all housing, health, justice, welfare, employment and family services partners to work with local government on local plans to end homelessness
- adapting welfare reforms by lifting the Local Housing Allowance freeze and re-linking it to rents
- increasing supply of supported housing
- reversing the application of a shared accommodation rate for single people under 35
- exempting temporary accommodation from the overall benefit cap
- incentivising private landlords and housing associations to work with councils to sustainably increase the supply of housing options for vulnerable low-income families, including temporary accommodation.
Government can support sustainable investment by:
- establishing a clear, robust and transparent viability procedure providing developers with certainty about their infrastructure and social housing obligations ahead of purchasing land
- giving councils enhanced powers to intervene where build-out rates are unreasonably slow or have stalled, including enhanced Compulsory Purchase Order powers
- amending the Land Compensation Act to enable councils to acquire land at close to existing use value so that land value uplifts can be captured to invest in local services and infrastructure.
Government must support local government in:
- resourcing an efficient, positive and proactive role of planning services to deliver homes by allowing councils to set planning fees locally and exploring how other services can support planning services where joint outcomes can be achieved
- creating stability and certainty in the planning system, restoring the full range of powers to local planning authorities that have been removed since the implementation of the new NPPF, making their implementation voluntary
- designing a new methodology for calculating objectively assessed housing need and a new housing delivery test in ways that do not force housing targets on local areas without sufficiently engaging local communities and local government. .
Download the full publication Growing places: building local public services for the future to learn more.