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CPRE welcomes move to remove cap on council borrowing for social housing

CPRE welcomes move to remove cap on council borrowing for social housing

CPRE welcomes Theresa May’s announcement that the Government will scrap the borrowing cap on local authority Housing Revenue Accounts. For far too long rural councils have been unable to build enough social rented homes to meet local needs, due to lack of funding. Rural communities desperately need more truly affordable homes and this new borrowing flexibility is a big step in the right direction.

CPRE hopes that the Government will clarify that councils should use their new revenue raising and spending powers to fund homes for social rent, the only level of rent that is genuinely affordable for low-income households in high demand rural areas. 

Lois Lane, Research and Policy Adviser at the Campaign to Protect Rural England, said:

"This announcement is welcome news for rural communities in particular, who have long required a step change in the delivery of social housing. There are currently more than 191,000 households on rural local authority waiting lists, but last year only 990 new homes for social rent were built in those areas. At that rate it would take 190 years just to meet the backlog. Rural councils should take advantage of the change and start building more of the truly affordable homes the countryside needs to thrive."

While this is a positive step forward, the land required by councils to be able to provide this much needed social housing comes with a hefty price tag. CPRE are calling for radical reform to the way in which we buy and sell land so that councils are able to afford the land required to build the affordable housing local communities need. Such a reform could also see huge improvements to local green spaces, public services and infrastructure.

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