Opinion – Government must give us freedom and funding to build homes for Brighton and Hove

Posted On 27 Jan 2018 at 11:19 am

Few argue that Brighton and Hove needs more housing, the debate is usually about where to build it and how affordable it is.

Another issue of course is how to pay for it.

We have committed to build or at least start 500 new council homes by 2020 and we are on the way to doing that.

Brooke Mead and Kite Place are the two latest developments to welcome tenants.

We have been challenged on how much these developments cost but anyone who has seen them has acknowledged it is money well spent.

The homes will cater for people with disabilities and for people at every stage of their lives, saving the council money in social care costs as people are more able to live independently at home.

One of the lessons from houses built in the second half of the 20th century is that you can’t skimp on quality or those homes won’t last but become prone to damp and other issues.

We fund our new council homes using borrowing against the revenue from existing council rents, the Housing Revenue Account.

Currently the government limits the amount we can borrow, thus limiting what we can build.

This week the cross-party Commons Treasury Committee, chaired by a former Conservative cabinet member, said that cap on borrowing should be lifted to allow councils to deliver more homes.

This was swiftly refused by a government minister who said that the private sector should deliver new homes.

Any new council homes we do build are of course subject to the “right to buy” and recent national surveys have shown that many former council homes end up in the hands of private landlords.

In response to this councils are coming up with innovative ways to deliver affordable homes and replace poor quality accommodation for people on lower incomes.

Kite Place

Our joint venture with Hyde Housing Association will deliver a thousand homes at rents at affordable to those on the national living wage and for shared ownership.

People in our communities need decent homes they can afford. We can’t depend on the private sector to deliver them.

Without affordable housing our public services and our local businesses can’t survive.

I’m saying to the decision-makers in London, give us the freedoms to build, the funding we require and allow us the innovations we need to build the good quality, truly affordable homes people are crying out for.

Councillor Warren Morgan is the Labour leader of Brighton and Hove City Council.

  1. Jennie Cockburn Reply

    Maybe if the council stopped the right to buy then they would have homes for people who need them. Council houses are supposed to be for short term, until the occupier gets back on their feet, not a permanent residence. Sort it out. Also buy to let mortgages should be stopped so that investors stop buying properties that people need and that more regulations should be put in place to stop ridiculous rent costs.

  2. Rob Reply

    the council don’t control right to buy, Jennie. The national government do and the council just have to pick up the pieces from it

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