100 more council homes on way in Hackney after borrowing cap lifted

Hackney Council's flagship development, the King's Crescent Estate off Green Lanes. Picture: Tim Cro

Hackney Council's flagship development, the King's Crescent Estate off Green Lanes. Picture: Tim Crocker - Credit: Archant

The mayor of Hackney says the lifting of the housing borrowing cap doesn’t mean the town hall can start building council homes overnight.

But he announced at least 100 homes set to be built for private or shared ownership under the council’s estate renegeration scheme will now be for social rent thanks to the change.

The cap, introduced in 2012, meant the amount Hackney could borrow through its housing revenue account (HRA) to build homes was an “arbitrary” £160million, even if bosses could prove new homes would bring in more when sold.

Theresa May announced in October that it was being lifted with immediate effect.

“It’s a real step forward in delivering social housing because you don’t have to make false choices,” Phil Glanville told the Gazette. “All of our schemes are viable but you were getting to a point where if you’d hit the cap you’d have had to pause some of them because we were about to hit the HRA debt cap.

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“We’ll be bringing a paper back to cabinet in April that shows the direct impact of the HRA debt cap and the funding from the Mayor of London.

“The headline figures are we’ll be converting at least 100 private and shared ownership homes to pure council social rent, and hopefully be expanding our programme to increase the number of homes we’re building.

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“But unless you also get funding around rent and right to buy receipts, it doesn’t allow you to overnight just build council housing.”

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