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Council Housing

Department for Communities and Local Government written question – answered on 14th January 2016.

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Photo of Jim Cunningham Jim Cunningham Labour, Coventry South

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, what steps his Department has taken to increase the amount of housing stock owned by councils; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of Brandon Lewis Brandon Lewis Minister of State (Communities and Local Government)

Local housing authorities have a wide range of discretion in building and running their housing stock. The Housing Revenue Account self-financing settlement was a good deal for local authorities; it put them in charge of their own finances and allowed them to decide how they wanted to invest in both their existing stock and in new council homes.

Local housing authorities have accumulated general housing revenue account reserves of almost £2.5 billion (in addition to over £1billion in the Major Repairs Reserve) and have borrowing headroom approaching £3.4 billion. In addition, almost £222 million of extra borrowing headroom has been allocated to 36 councils in England to specifically support around 3,000 new affordable homes in 2015/16 and 2016/17.

More council housing has been built since 2010 than in the previous 13 years. 2014 saw the highest number of council housing starts for 23 years.

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