More freedom for local councils

22 July 2009

Block of flats

Councils will have greater freedom to manage their own housing finances under new proposals unveiled by Housing Minister John Healey MP.  Shelter has welcomed the move, which local councils have campaigned for over several years.

The proposals remove the need to redistribute revenue nationally, meaning councils will finance housing from their own rents and revenues. They will be able to keep any proceeds from Right to Buy sales and rental income from tenants. This will allow councils to plan long term and respond more strategically to local need.

Kay Boycott, Shelter’s  Director of Communications, Policy and campaigns said:

‘With almost 1.8 million households on council waiting lists we welcome the proposal which should result in councils building much-needed homes for people in housing need. Now the Government and local authorities must work together to implement the new system as a matter of urgency.

'Rents and money raised through the Right to Buy should be retained by councils to build new homes and ensure that the existing two million council homes are well maintained and managed. This money must be ring-fenced for new and existing council housing and not used to subsidise other local services.’