Desperately needed new social homes could go unbuilt unless the time that councils are given to spend money from Right to Buy sales is extended from three to five years, the LGA has warned.
With the building of new homes delayed or stopped by the coronavirus crisis, many councils are concerned that they will not be able to spend the Right to Buy (RTB) cash on replacing much-needed council homes sold under the scheme.
Meanwhile, more than 450,000 home buyers and renters have been given the green light to complete their moves, after the Government issued guidance on restarting the housing market and supporting planning departments.
Councils will be able to publicise planning applications online and smaller housing developers may defer payments to councils to manage their cash flow.
The LGA has called for flexibility on construction site working hours, to be negotiated on a site-by-site basis with councils so they can consider the impact on local residents.
Cllr David Renard, the LGA’s Housing Spokesman, said: “It is good that the Government has brought forward measures to ensure that planning departments can continue to operate effectively within current public health guidelines, and… has acted on our calls by increasing flexibility on publicity requirements for planning applications.
“The Government needs to go further by allowing councils at least five years to spend RTB receipts to avoid the coronavirus crisis exacerbating the current shortage of social housing.
“Councils also need to be able to keep 100 per cent of receipts, set discounts locally and increase the proportion of receipts that can be used to meet the cost of replacing homes. This is critical if we are to get building again as we begin the national recovery.”