Homes won’t meet standard for five years

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HOUSING chiefs will be unable to meet standards for council home improvements after taking on a debt of £355.3 million under a shake-up.

Under a new finance deal Dacorum Borough Council’s share of the national housing debt has been set at £355.3 million, up £11.8 million on a previous prediction.

Taking on the debt means the council no longer has to pay profits from rents to the government, which previously meant there was progressively less cash to spend on the housing service.

However, servicing the debt means there will not be the cash available in the first five years to bring the borough’s 10, 500 council homes up to the ‘Dacorum Standard’, though there will be in future years.

But a report to the council’s cabinet insists the level of investment will still be higher than under the old system. “There is a clear problem in years one to five that means the council will not be able to meet the desired standard immediately,” it says. An alternative option of selling the council’s homes to a housing association was thrown out in January.