The ability of local authorities to set up trading companies, such as Local Housing Companies (LHCs) is nothing new. Council’s have a long history of commercial activity. More recently the Local GovernmentAct (2003) and the Localism Act (2011) allow councils to establish trading companies (or subsidiaries), into which a council can transfer businesses and assets and return a profit. These companies often form part of council owned holding companies, which may lead on joint ventures, land deals, development agreements etc. Some take the form of special purpose local delivery vehicles (LDVs), usually involving the private sector.
Southend Borough Council set up its own Local Housing Company in 2016 called Southend Housing Ltd., but has failed to progress any developments.
About 150 councils throughout England have set up LHCs, through which 1,000s of new homes are being built.