The Labour Group on Sedgemoor District Council have been able to persuade the ruling Tory group, that there is a need for Councils to build more houses, in the housing delivery programme. Cllr Mick Lerry ,moving a motion on Housing Delivery at the Full Council meeting on Wednesday 21st March said: ‘ Much has been said recently by Government on the Broken Housing Market, but the emphasis had been on planning, rather than the role of Local Government to build Council Houses. The Government needed to remove the borrowing cap on the Council’s Housing Revenue Account, to allow SDC to borrow the necessary money to build Council houses.”
Cllr Lerry (Labour,Bridgwater Victoria) continued “In Sedgemoor there is an urgent need for rented accommodation, such as Council houses, for local people. Councils borrowing money to build Council houses, with a proper business case to pay off the loans, should be allowed to do so and it should not be seen as public debt. Borrowing to build houses was really about an investment in the community to build rented accommodation, which would eventually pay off the loan. This is the way that many developers and builders function in the housing market and Councils should be allowed to build and provide affordable homes”.
Demand outstripping supply
“The important point that the Government needed to understand, regarding housing delivery, was that demand for houses to rent and buy was outstripping supply and that large scale developers were failing to meet the demand. This is why there is a place for Councils to be given the financial freedom to borrow and build houses”, said Mick.
Cllr Mick Lerry then went on to welcome the amendment from the ruling group, with the additional points of 100% use of “right to buy” receipts and the building of one-bedroom properties.
The Council resolved to Lobby the Members of Parliament who represented the Sedgemoor area, on the important role for Councils to be allowed to borrow to build Council houses and work with partners to increase housing supply. At the same time the MPs will be informed, that this is especially important for Sedgemoor, as the community were hosting a major infrastructure project, with the building of Hinkley C.