News release from 29/10/2018

Council housing pledge after borrowing cap lifted

Council housing pledge after borrowing cap lifted

The scrapping of a limit on the amount Councils can borrow to spend on building homes is being welcomed in South Cambridgeshire – with leading Councillors calling for the small print to be confirmed as soon as possible.

The Chancellor, Philip Hammond MP, gave confirmation in his autumn budget today (Monday 29 October) that the cap on the amount authorities can borrow to invest in new Council homes will be lifted. This announcement follows an indication of this course of action by the Prime Minister at her party’s conference earlier this month. The borrowing cap has been widely seen as the greatest restraint on the ability of Councils to build new homes.

Members of South Cambridgeshire District Council are now calling for the precise details around the scheme to be confirmed rapidly, so they can understand exactly what it will mean for South Cambridgeshire and the authority’s ambition to build more homes that are affordable for people to live in as quickly as possible.

The district is a major UK growth area with critical affordability pressures in the local housing market.

Even with the borrowing cap in place, the authority has amassed extensive experience in building high-quality Council homes. 100 have been built in South Cambridgeshire, or have started being constructed, since 2015. This includes new affordable housing already completed in Gamlingay, Swavesey, Linton, Foxton, Great Abington and Waterbeach.

On top of this, the Council already has plans for up to a further 200 new Council houses to be built across the district over the next five years, including in Waterbeach, Teversham, Caldecote, Great Abington, Hardwick and other villages.

South Cambridgeshire District Council’s Lead Cabinet Member for Housing, Cllr Hazel Smith, said: “This announcement is hugely positive news and one that should have been made many years ago as the pressure on housing has been building for a long time. Essentially, we hope it means hundreds of new homes can be delivered faster. The vital follow-up now is to hear from the Government all the details. We are eager to get on with delivering homes that are affordable for people to live in as soon as possible but need to fully understand how this new arrangement will work in practice first. Lots of Councils, including us, will need to ensure they have the right teams in place to deliver on this so the sooner we can get prepared, the better. I’m looking forward to receiving the full detail so we can build more desperately needed homes across South Cambridgeshire.”