Sedgemoor Labour Group Leader Cllr Mick Lerry (Bridgwater Victoria) has been out and about campaigning for local authorities to build more council homes and last week spoke on BBC TVs ‘Daily Politics’ show making the case that changes in Government policy should be the catalyst to start building once more.
Cllr Mick Lerry said: ‘In the last Government budget statement, it was announced that the borrowing cap on the Council’s Housing Revenue Account had been removed. What does this mean for Councils, well they can now start to borrow money again to build more houses. The Government has set an annual Housing target of 3 thousand new homes, which it cannot meet, so the Government has decided to release funding for Councils to provide the extra housing needed”,
Need for Social Houses today
Many of the houses provided by Housing Associations at the moment are affordable houses, which means that the rent is set at 80% of the housing rental market. Some Council Houses have their rent set at 60% of the market rent and are often referred to as Social Houses.
Mick continued “The need for Social Houses today is as great now as when Councils were fully involved in building houses after the Second World. There is also a need for one-bedroom properties in Sedgemoor as well. On Somerset Homefinder 890 people are searching for this kind of property to rent, due to low income, homelessness and the bedroom tax.”
Looking at Modular Houses
Many of the Houses built after the Second World War, were prefabricated houses, which were quick to build for the homes needed. Many people will say that the building of houses has not really developed over time. However, there are new developers now using modern methods of construction, by offering new solutions for house building. These houses are often referred to as modular houses, where they are built in a factory and transported to the building site.
“This development in House building offers a real opportunity for the Council to provide the much needed social housing, for people to rent”. Says Mick.“ What is now needed is the political will and decision, by the ruling group on Sedgemoor District Council, to once again build Council houses. By using the modern methods of construction, Council houses can now be built for social rent and the needs of the community for single bedroom homes. Social Houses will deliver savings in housing benefit, while at the same time creating more disposal income for low paid working families and individuals”.