MP: 'New housing policy is good news for Scilly'
Scilly's MP has said the Government's decision to abolish the cap on how much councils can borrow to build new homes is good news for the islands.
The Prime Minister announced at the recent Conservative Party Conference that the government is abolishing the Housing Revenue Account (HRA) borrowing cap
Local authorities have welcomed the new policy, which it is hoped could kickstart a wave of social housing projects.
Derek Thomas, who represents the St Ives constituency, told This is Scilly during yesterday's visit to Scilly that he and Council Chief executive Theo Leijser had petitioned then Communities Secretary Sajid Javid for such a move.
“For local authorities that’s good news. This is something that Theo and I asked Sajid for when he was in the Local Government department, for that to allow Council housing to be built on the Isles of Scilly. If that is the right tool to make a start to providing affordable housing for people that live here, it’s good news and it’ll be good news for other authorities. I know Cornwall Council are very keen to build 1,000 homes. This will help to make it an easier process.
"The Government will say that we’re taking away the excuses for local authorities not to build, and local authorities love to put excuses in the way on why they’re not delivering the housing the Government have asked them to deliver. So in one sense it challenges the Isles of Scilly to deliver the solutions that are so badly needed.
"Everyone I speak to knows this is a key priority for people here. I’ve had a number of conversations since I became the MP on how we can ways to build housing that is affordable and is available to local people."
Cllr Steve Sims, Lead Member for Place, described the policy as a "potential game changer for social housing on the islands", saying that the Council is "very keen" to start building.
He added that he does not agree with Derek's comment about local authorities making excuses not to build, saying: "The reason, not the excuse, has been that they have not been able to raise money because of the cap."