Friday, 26 March 2010

Councils to be handed housing powers!

This Press Release from John Healey the Westminster Housing Minister is to be welcomed, these changes are long overdue. The following paragraph quoting John Healey will have a significant impact on Wales:
This is a once and for all settlement between central and local government. It will bring council house funding up to date. Councils will get the freedom to fund and run their council homes, without central government subsidy,’ he said.

‘Not a single penny from rents or sales will go to Whitehall and not a single penny will subsidise other councils as the current system dictates.’

At present 21 of the 22 Welsh Local Authorities pay a Housing Subsidy to the Treasury and it would appear that Healey intends to end the Housing Subsidy system in England so we can but presume that the same will happen in Wales and that will release £11 million for Wrecsam alone to build more social housing. Begs the question why we need to transfer our council stock especially as the council doesn't have to pay VAT whereby Housing Associations do.


Plaid Gwersyllt said...

Comment copied from Local Government website:

About time too! The hypocrisy of Government politicians telling tenants they may vote in expensive ballots to stay with Councils if they wish as opposed to moving to the private sector with Registered Social Landlords, etc., and not providing local authorities with the necessary funding to bring council houses up to the Quality Standards set has gone on for far too long! Hopefully this will not be out-manoeuvred in Wales.

Bob Dutton, Deputy Leader Wrexham C.B.C

Draig said...

Out of curiosity which council in Wales doesn't pay the subsidy then? And how would I go about finding the figures for my area?

Maurice said...

This is the best news I've heard this year. It totally vindicates our anti stock transfer campaign. Now we can complete on a level playing field with housing associations.

Plaid Gwersyllt said...

Merthyr receives about quarter of a million. Ask your Chief Officer housing what the total rents for the authority is and how much of that goes to the Treasury as housing subsidy, it will probably be about 25%. The information will also be somewhere on WAG's data unit website. Try searching for Housing Revenue Account (HRA)and see what information is on that.

Plaid Whitegate said...

Maurice - it would be great to think the daylight robbery was coming to an end but I think it's premature to celebrate too much because it's only out to consultation, it's only being proposed in England and there's bound to be a catch somewhere!