Call to ‘ring-fence’ £1.7m Worcester housing pot

First published in News Worcester News: Tom Edwards by , Political Reporter

CALLS are being made to safeguard £1.7 million of cash which council bosses hope to use towards easing Worcester’s housing crisis.

Worcester’s Labour group wants the money “ring-fenced” so it cannot be raided over the next few years to plug holes in the budget.

The city council is being handed £5.6 million from central government as a reward for the amount of new homes being built.

The council’s Conservative leadership wants to allocate £1.7 million of the fund towards building new social housing between now and 2018. But the Labour group says it wants guarantees bosses cannot u-turn on the pledge and use some of the cash to fill gaps which could emerge elsewhere.

The council is slashing spending by more than £1.2 million by 2015 to balance the books and could face more cuts in future years depending on what funding it gets from central government.

Councillor Geoff Williams, from the Labour group, said: “I welcome the spending on affordable homes but there are a couple of issues.

“A report in December said the council will attempt to use some of the money on social housing, but there may be pressure to use some on the revenue budget.

“We would like to see the amount allocated for housing ring-fenced away from that so there is no danger whatsoever of that happening.”

The £5.6 million cash pot, which is called the New Homes Bonus, is being split three ways, with the remainder going on ideas to boost the economy, as well as new infrastructure like roads and footpath improvements.

As your Worcester News reported, about £348,000 is going towards a £700,000 revamp of the city’s High Street.

Coun Williams’ comments were made during a meeting of the performance management committee, where other politicians agreed with the stance.

Coun Liz Smith, leader of the Liberal Democrats, said: “I hope all of the money from the New Homes Bonus can be used in the way it’s intended and all three categories remain as they are.”

Comments (2)

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11:25am Mon 11 Feb 13

More Tea Vicar says...

Please let's stop pretending that new housing is anything to do with easing any local 'housing crisis'.

First, what actual 'crisis' is there? Certainly no details of it are given in the report, or any detail I've seen regarding the SWDP.

If there is a problem, it's more to do with the lack of decently-paid employment. You could pave the entire county over - as the Tories, Labour and the LibDems are clearly intent on doing - and it won't make a blind bit of difference if local people aren't in well-paid employment.

The plans are all about keeping builders in profit and planners in a job.

Go round any new estate, virtually everyone moving into new housing is an incomer or immigrant.
Please let's stop pretending that new housing is anything to do with easing any local 'housing crisis'. First, what actual 'crisis' is there? Certainly no details of it are given in the report, or any detail I've seen regarding the SWDP. If there is a problem, it's more to do with the lack of decently-paid employment. You could pave the entire county over - as the Tories, Labour and the LibDems are clearly intent on doing - and it won't make a blind bit of difference if local people aren't in well-paid employment. The plans are all about keeping builders in profit and planners in a job. Go round any new estate, virtually everyone moving into new housing is an incomer or immigrant. More Tea Vicar
  • Score: 0

4:55pm Mon 11 Feb 13

tinateabg says...

why waste money that could well be saved, on putting a new street light in, when we did'nt need one. I cannot understand the logic. The road had quite sufficiant lighting, and yet, hey ho, wasting money and not putting it to more important uses!!
why waste money that could well be saved, on putting a new street light in, when we did'nt need one. I cannot understand the logic. The road had quite sufficiant lighting, and yet, hey ho, wasting money and not putting it to more important uses!! tinateabg
  • Score: 0
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