The Minister for Housing, Yvette Cooper, has announced a new affordable housing scheme utilising Local Housing Companies (LHC). These vehicles will allow councils to offer affordable housing deals to help key workers and first-time buyers onto the property ladder.

LHCs are an innovative new partnership between councils and the private sector being tested as one of a range of models to help local authorities to bring forward land for housing development and in particular to help increase the supply of affordable housing. Local authorities would provide any surplus public sector land to the LHC and then play a full part in agreeing the development plan for the area, including being able to directly offer low cost housing deals to meet local needs. The LHC would act as the master developer within an area and would work with other investors and contractors to create new communities. One of the aims of the scheme is to include at least 50 per cent affordable housing for key workers and first-time buyers.

Guidance on the use of LHCs was issued on 5 November 2007 to aid the first 14 authorities which have shown interest in the scheme.

A copy of the guidance can be found here.