£180 million council house building boost planned

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Indy Politics

The Government today announced plans for a £180 million programme to build 1,200 new council houses.

Housing Minister John Healey also revealed new measures to support families faced with the threat of repossession.

He used his speech to the Labour Party conference to accuse the Tories of secretly plotting to double or treble the rents paid by council and housing association tenants.

Mr Healey said more council homes were being built now than at any time in nearly two decades but more needed to be done.

"I am launching a second round of funding for councils that are ready to help build the new affordable rented homes we need in this country.

"I'm inviting bids by the end of next month.

"And before Christmas I aim to give the go ahead to a £180 million programme to build an extra 1,200 council homes."

Mr Healey said a duty would be placed on councils, developers and housing associations to use apprentices and local workers on projects funded by the taxpayer.

This would result in an extra 3,000 apprenticeships, he told party supporters in Brighton.

Mr Healey also announced an extra duty to be placed on lenders before they could repossess a property.

He said: "We are tightening the rules on lenders to help those facing repossession.

"From this week lenders will have to tell local councils when they start repossession action, so the councils can then offer advice or practical support."

Turning to the Tories, Mr Healey said he had evidence obtained under the Freedom of Information Act about the conclusions of Conservative council leaders and two London deputy mayors.

"Secret plans for eight million people in council or housing association homes.

"Secret plans that would double or treble the rents, secret plans that would cut their security in their home to a two-month notice period.

"If I'm wrong, David Cameron can say so, but he won't.

"I challenged him two months ago, and again two weeks ago.

"I'm now publishing my letters, and I challenge him again today to come clean.

"He owes council or housing association tenants across the country the truth about the Tories' plans."