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MHCLG extends the deadline for HRA Borrowing Programme 13/09/2018 Labelled as Development, Finance

The Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government has belatedly announced that the deadline for submission of bids for increases in debt caps under the HRA Borrowing Programme has been extended for councils outside London to 30 September 2018.


The Prospectus and bidding process for the HRA Borrowing Programme was issued by the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government (MHCLG) on 26 June, with the original deadline of 7 September 2018 for submission of bids.


The £1bn additional borrowing headroom will be allocated over 3 financial years from 2019/20. £400m will be available in 2019/20 with £300m in 2020/21 and £300m in 2021/22.


ARCH had been pushing MHCLG officials for an early announcement on the Programme, to enable local authorities to plan accordingly and ensure that bids for the additional borrowing headroom were not undersubscribed. In this respect the relatively short 10 week period for preparation and submission of bids, coming as it did over the summer holiday period, was disappointing.


Following discussions with officials from MHCLG and Homes England at the ARCH Newbuild Network Meeting on 18 July, ARCH Chief Executive, John Bibby wrote to MHCLG on 19 July asking for an extension of the deadline.


ARCH argued that the original timescale and deadline of 7 September for submission of bids was extremely tight and, due to the peak holiday season, availability of key staff, capacity to put detailed bids together and obtain any necessary cabinet approval was likely to prove to be an issue for some councils - particularly for smaller authorities.


We argued that as the deadline for London authorities to bid via the GLA has been set at a later date of 30 September and given that the Programme was first announced in the 2017 Budget in November, but the Prospectus was not published until 4 July, a request to extend the deadline for bids from councils outside London to 30 September, in-line with the deadline for bids to the GLA, did not seem unreasonable.


Although belatedly announced on the day before the original deadline of 7 September, the extension of the deadline for bids to 30 September is welcomed.

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