We store cookies on your device to make sure we give you the best experience on this website. I'm fine with this - Turn cookies off
Switch to an accessible version of this website which is easier to read. (requires cookies)

Fears Leeds could miss out under council housebuilding budget plans

November 22, 2017 9:23 AM

The leader of Leeds Liberal Democrats is concerned that an Autumn budget announcement to lift borrowing restrictions that currently prevent local councils from building new council houses may not apply to Leeds.

The announcement means that councils will have more freedom to borrow against future rental income to enable the construction of new homes.

However, this freedom will be prioritised for areas with 'high affordability pressure', meaning Leeds could miss out, depending on how the government defines this measure. Furthermore, the measure will only be introduced from 2019 and councils will have to individually bid to the government for permission to access the funding.

At a council meeting earlier in November, all parties called on the government to change its policy to enable the council to build more council houses and tackle the city's housing shortage.

Cllr Stewart Golton (Lib Dem, Rothwell) tabled a motion on the issue to that meeting. He said:

"I'm pleased the government has decided to make it easier for councils to build new homes but I'm concerned that they may decide to exclude Leeds from this measure.

"Central government has needlessly held back councils from building new houses for so many years, by stopping us from borrowing to build new homes.

"I hope that the government will clarify that 'areas with high affordability pressure' doesn't simply mean South East England. It's also disappointing that councils will have to submit bids to access this source of funding and that nothing will be introduced until 2019 at the earliest.

"Only a fortnight ago I tabled a motion to council on this issue and it's something that's gathered support across the political spectrum.

"I hope the council will submit a bid to the government as early as possible as we need to make the most of every available opportunity to build the homes Leeds so desperately needs."