has made its submission to the Independent Review of the local
authority role in housing supply, established
by CLG and led by Nathalie Elphick and Keith House. You can read it
here. It begins by acknowledging that there is a need to
substantially increase the supply of housing in most parts of the
country and councils have an important role to play in making this
Stock-owning councils have a particular contribution to make.
They are already planning a significant increase in local authority
housebuilding, but could do more with appropriate help and support
from Government, including some adjustments to the current legal
The Review's terms of reference preclude it making any
recommendation that would increase government borrowing, so lifting
debt caps - beyond the additional £300 million already announced -
is ruled out. However, the submission points out the advantages of
development in the HRA are argues that the Government should
encourage and help councils to make the maximum use of the
borrowing that is available to them within debt limits.
Some councils will want to do more, and the Review team are
particularly interested in partnership initiatives of various kinds
between councils and developers, housing associations and financial
institutions. The ARCH submission points out that there are plenty
of innovative development models being tried and tested by councils
across the country, but nearly all of the councils involved are
cities, London Boroughs or large unitaries.
This, we argue, is because the costs of setting up and
maintaining partnership arrangements are substantial, and the
necessary skills and capacities unlikely to be easily available to
a smaller district council perhaps contemplating development on a
If such councils - and they are a majority of ARCH members -
cannot find the resources they need from within their HRAs, and
wish to pursue the option of developing in partnership, ways should
be found to enable them to benefit from the experience of other
councils, and to help them with or enable them to share the costs
of setting up and operating partnership vehicles.
As a first step in helping councils to share experience and
ideas in relation to housing development, the ARCH Executive
decided this week to organize a seminar in the East Midlands to
explore the issues and identify potential solutions. It is likely
to take place in the first half of July. Details will be posted on
the ARCH website in due course.