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£7bn housing fund open for bids

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Bidding has opened for councils to secure a share of £7.2bn from the government to build homes.

A prospectus issued by the Homes & Communities Agency said councils with sufficient Housing Revenue Account borrowing headroom – the difference between their debt on the account and borrowing cap – could apply for the funding. An addendum issued today describes how to make bids.

Council bids will though be up against both housing associations and private builders and landlords, whom ministers are encouraging to bid.

The fund comprises £4.7bn announced in last year’s spending review, £1.4bn allocated in November’s Autumn Statement and £1bn of unspent existing resources.

Proposals can be for homes for affordable rent, shared ownership, specialist homes for vulnerable people, or rent-to-buy, the latter being rented at below 80% of the local market rent while tenants save for a deposit to buy.

The Homes and Communities Agency will consult councils on bids to build in their area, regardless of whether the council has applied for funds.

Communities secretary Sajid Javid said: “By encouraging the delivery of more homes under a variety of tenures, we can create a housing market which truly works for everyone, meeting the diverse housing needs of this country.”

Research by LGC in November found that almost half of the £7.2bn announced was either not new money or did not belong to the government


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