Treasury increases rate at which councils can borrow money


Council housebuilding projects may have to be cancelled following a government announcement that it is increasing the interest rate at which councils can borrow to fund their schemes.

The Treasury wrote to council finance chiefs on Thursday to say that the rate of interest charged for money borrowed from the Public Works Loan Board (PWLB) was going up to 1% above the government’s cost of borrowing.

Sajid Javid TB

No explanation: chancellor Sajid Javid

The Local Government Association responded with a statement saying the news could add £70m a year to the cost of local authority borrowing, and put authorities’ nascent council housebuilding programmes, funded with PWLB money, at risk.

A spokesperson for the Local Government Association said the cost hike “presents a real risk that capital schemes, including vital council house building projects, will cease to be affordable and may have to be cancelled as a result.”

A number of councils have announced plans to expand housebuilding programmes following former prime minister Theresa May’s decision to scrap the cap on local authority borrowing.

The news came in the same week that Norwich council’s Goldsmith Street sociaal housing won the Stirling Prize for architects Mikhail Riches.