ARCH is optimistic about prospects for a fairer housing finance
system following housing minister Grant Shapps'
confirmation that he intends to end the Housing Revenue Account
The minister's commitment today to scrapping the HRA comes after
years of campaigning by ARCH for a fairer system. ARCH represents
56 councils across England whose tenants and residents have chosen
their local authority as their landlord. It was set up to campaign
for a fairer housing finance system.
Brian Reilly, Deputy Director of Housing at the London Borough of
Wandsworth and member of the ARCH executive board commented: 'The
minister's recognition that the current subsidy system needs
radical reform is obviously very welcome. ARCH is pleased that
after years of lobbying on this matter a broad consensus has
emerged at national and local level. Reforming the existing,
unpopular and unfair system offers an exciting opportunity to
empower communities, allowing them to plan and deliver effective
He added: 'We understand that, in a time of financial austerity,
there will be a price to pay for this freedom. I am heartened by
the minister's commitment to ensuring all councils receive a
settlement that is affordable. The detail of the proposal and
timescales is eagerly anticipated.'
While Wandsworth and other ARCH member authorities are likely be
allocated significant debts in order to buy themselves out of the
HRA system, detailed financial modeling work among member
authorities by CIHConsult found the vast majority would emerge
better off than under the current regime, which sees rents
swallowed up into a national pot.
Bob Livermore, Executive Manager Housing and Property Maintenance
at West Lancashire District Council and member of the ARCH
executive said: 'ARCH has long campaigned for a fairer finance
system for the sake of millions of people living in council homes.
We have supported government proposals that would give councils
more control over local housing and therefore welcome the
minister's confirmation that the HRA is to go. We await details and
hope a new housing finance system will be taken forward that is
fair and enables local control.'forward that is fair and enables