Healey gives green light to more than 2,000 new council houses-source 24 dash.com
Housing Minister John Healey today gave the green light for work to begin building over two thousand new council homes that will help create over five thousand jobs in the construction industry.
Despite the recession, this is the biggest council house building programme for almost two decades.
Forty seven councils, covering every region of the country, will receive a share of £127 million Government funding to help build these homes. They will match funding bringing total investment to over £250 million.
Mr Healey said that construction will begin on the first sites before the end of the year and he will announce a second wave of projects in the autumn.
This major cash injection is part of the Prime Minister’s £1.5 billion Housing Pledge announced in Building Britain’s Future in June.
According to the Government, this commitment to housing will help build the homes the country needs, help people into jobs and help the country through the recession.
Today’s funding comes on top of cash announced in July to get building work on hundreds of stalled housing developments back on track.
Eighty per cent of the new council homes announced today will be built to standards well above that required by building regulations helping to cut CO2 emissions and reduce energy bills for the families that live in them.
All bids were subject to tough testing. They had to represent value for money, help meet specific local housing needs and be able to begin construction before March 2010. Crucially only bids for the construction of new council homes for rent were eligible.
In total 51 councils submitted bids. Bids from four councils were considered not to represent value for money and the Minister has asked the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) to work with these councils to strengthen their bids for consideration later this month or for resubmitting bids in round two.
Today’s funding is on top of action Mr Healey has already announced to dismantle the current council housing finance system and to give councils more leeway to manage waiting lists. Together these will allow councils more freedom to better meet housing needs in their communities.
John Healey said: “Today I am giving the green light for councils to start building over two thousand new council homes, backed by £127 million Government cash.
“It means that, despite the tough economic climate, the biggest council house building programme for almost two decades will begin by the end of the year.
“We have committed to use the power of Government investment to help Britain through the recession.
“This boost for affordable housing will help build the homes we need and it’s also a shot in the arm for the construction industry creating over five thousand jobs. And built to some of the toughest ever standards this is good for the environment and means lower fuel bills for the families who live in them.
“This cash injection, along with plans I have already announced to give councils greater control of their housing finances and more leeway in how they run their waiting lists, means councils are better placed than for decades to meet the housing needs of their communities.”