Brighton and Hove City Council is urging the government to change the rules on councils building homes to help the worsening housing situation here and elsewhere.
After councillors agreed a motion about replacing “truly affordable” rented housing at a full council meeting in October, chief executive Geoff Raw has written to ministers.
His letter to Chancellor Philip Hammond and Communities and Local Government Secretary Sajid Javid calls for
• an end to the cap on HRA (Housing Revenue Account) borrowing to enable new homes to be built through prudential borrowing and
• a commitment to allow councils to retain sufficient income from the sale of higher-value homes to fund its replacement with a socially rented council houses
The motion was proposed by Councillor David Gibson, the Green Party housing spokesman, and seconded by Councillor Tom Druitt. It was carried unanimously.
Brighton and Hove currently has more than 23,000 households on the housing register, 1,800 in temporary accommodation and a serious shortage of affordable homes.
The city’s housing strategy also notes that “renting or buying a good quality home in Brighton & Hove is a challenge for 88,000 households”.
The council’s innovative New Homes for Neighbourhoods programme has ambitions to build at least 500 new homes on council housing land.
About 200 homes are already complete or under way and the council is currently in talks with a view to setting up a joint venture to build at least a thousand more.