Magazine article Public Finance

Almos 'Should Be Able to Borrow'

Magazine article Public Finance

Almos 'Should Be Able to Borrow'

Article excerpt

Council-owned housing companies have called on ministers to let them borrow money without government controls.

In a report on the future of arm's-length management organisations, the National Federation of Almos said it was crucial that they had freedom to borrow from private lenders to build homes and improve existing ones.

Around 20 of the 69 Almos set up by English local authorities have already brought their homes up to the decent homes standard. At least three councils are considering ballots of tenants so they can transfer the stock to a housing association and enjoy more financial flexibility.

But the NFA argued that Almos had a future in their own right if money they borrowed did not count as public sector debt They would, however, need to show that their work involved some risk and their parent council no longer controlled board decisions.

A future for Almos, published on April 2, argued that there were advantages to councils in having Almos outside the public sector, especially if council housing became self-financing and authorities retained all their rent income. …

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