Councils poised to regain right to housing cash

Councils will be allowed to keep their rents and the proceeds from the sale of homes under an overhaul of local authority financing that reverses reforms from the Thatcher era. Along with borrowing freedoms that were recently introduced, this could lead to up to 10,000 extra council houses being built every year and mean 10 per cent more money a year for maintaining and managing Britain’s 1.8m remaining council homes, which are occupied by 4m people, the government said yesterday. Housing minister John Healey said the move amounted to a ‘once in a generation chance of change’ that should be welcomed by councils. Under the plans, the ‘housing revenue account’ system will be dismantled in 177 local authority areas. This would end the current system, whereby income from council housing goes into a central pot, not all of which is returned to local authorities.