Highlands & Islands

Renewed appeal over Highland Council's housing debt

Danny Alexander
Image caption Local MP Danny Alexander is chief secretary to the Treasury

Highland Council could be poised to make a fresh appeal to the UK Treasury to write off its housing debt.

The local authority is spending £15m a year on loan charges to service its £146m debt.

It has previously said cancelling the debt would allow it to commit more money to improving housing stock.

MP Danny Alexander, now chief secretary to the Treasury, arranged for a council delegation to meet a senior government official on the matter last year.

Councillors Drew Hendry and Dave Fallows have asked Highland Council's administration to renew the call.

In 2006, the local authority's tenants voted against transferring ownership of 14,500 homes to a private housing association.

More than 60% of tenants voted and 59.7% were against plans to transfer to Highland Housing Association.

Both Highland Council leaders and ministers had urged tenants to support the proposal, which would have seen the authority's £160m debt at the time wiped out by the Treasury and 1,000 more houses built.

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