Housing lacking in council finances debate in House of Commons

Article Posted -
06 Feb 2019

Despite Communities Secretary James Brokenshire confirming an additional £18 million provided for the New Homes Bonus, there was minimal discussion on housing in the House of Commons debate on local authority funding packages for 2019/20 last night. 

During the Commons debate, Brokenshire said: “We also want to continue rewarding councils for delivering the homes we need. I therefore confirm that the new homes bonus baseline threshold will be maintained, at a cost of £18 million.” 

The New Homes Bonus is the Government’s incentivisation for local authorities to welcome housing growth and build more houses. The baseline for growth will remain at 0.4 percent.  

Meera Chindooroy, Policy and Public Affairs Manager at the National Landlords Association (NLA), says: 

“Every party has consistently said housing is a priority. If MPs aren’t going to include such a vital topic in their funding debates, one wonders how seriously they’re taking the housing shortage. 

“It is imperative local authorities are provided with more resources to build social housing for those most in need. Statistics from the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government show that local authorities have decreased their housing spend by 48 percent in real terms since 2010/11.  

“This lack of spend, and the continuation of Right to Buy, have contributed to the housing crisis. Councils lack the housing they need to support the homeless and those at risk of homelessness – one of their key responsibilities. This is putting pressure on the private rented sector as councils use this as a fall-back to discharge their duty. 

“It really is up to councils to build bridges with private landlords in their community, to understand their frustrations with the broken system, and to provide support if they are using privately rented homes to fill the deficit of social housing. It is also up to the Government to ensure that councils are adequately funded to provide the services local people need.”