Hammond set to announce badly needed boost to council housebuilding
In next week's Budget, Chancellor Hammond will propose "lifting the strict borrowing caps imposed on local authorities", in order to boost council house building. Empty rhetoric from a bankrupt government, devoid of any intention of actually getting to grips with the nationwide housing crisis, but seeking some headlines with soundbite and spin. The Hammond "initiative" pre supposes that those councils actually allowed to "borrow money" will take up the privilege and moreover will allocate the "new money" to the provision of social house building.
The historic evidence of easing restrictions on Council borrowing, tells us that such councils invariably resort to projects which are most likely to increase council balances in the short to medium term and are usually concerned with building offices and hotels rather that housing. Where any houses might be built, they are usually for "low cost, affordable homes", which are of low cost and affordable only to the first purchaser, and are quickly absorbed into the inflated "housing market". In any case, even these houses are of such miniscule numbers as to be totally insignificant to the overall numbers required.
As usual the government pays lip service to a problem, then proceeds to produce feckless phrases and words which they champion as the panacea to the crisis.The solution to the housing crisis, requires the building of homes on a scale not seen since the end of the Second World War.
A few throw away lines and empty suggestions from the Chancellor, who even as he utters them are known by everyone to be no more than a gesture and meaningless inanity, is not the solution to this 21st Century scandal.