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Investment in housing services

Published: 15/07/2014

Flintshire County Council will have greater freedom to invest in council housing services if new financial plans from Welsh Government are backed by councillors at a Cabinet meeting on Tuesday (15 July). There are 11 stock holding councils across Wales that are members of the existing Welsh housing revenue account subsidy system. Following successful negotiations between Welsh Government and the UK Treasury, this subsidy system, that ended up with many councils being in negative subsidy and offered no incentives to build new properties, should be abolished by April 2015. The next step in the process is to set up a voluntary agreement to enable the 11 organisations to introduce self financing. If plans are agreed the County Council could receive borrowing approval of £14m to build new properties and £25m for renovations to meet Welsh Housing Quality Standards (WHQS). Elected members have been working closely with colleagues in other authorities and with Welsh Local Government Association (WLGA) to reach a consensus for the voluntary agreement as well as holding meetings with both the scrutiny committee and the Tenants Federation. Councillor Helen Brown, Cabinet Member for Housing said: “This is the next step in a process to give the Council much more freedom to choose how to invest funds in housing stock. It will mean new properties can be built and more renovations can be done to bring existing houses up to quality standards.” Councillor Aaron Shotton, Leader of the Council said: “Flintshire County Council has spearheaded the campaign for Councils to have greater freedoms to invest in existing homes and to begin building Council houses once again. New Council homes are urgently needed and I would urge all Local Authorities in Wales to back the voluntary agreement.”