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LGA Housing Commission supports our call 07/07/2016

Last year, the LGA set up a Housing Commission last year to explore how a renewed investment in the different new homes that people need can deliver significant wider benefits for communities.


Over the past eight months the LGA Housing Commission has heard from developers, planners, charities, health partners, housing associations and many others including ARCH and it published early findings at the second day of the LGA's Annual Conference this week (6 July). 


The report finds councils should be enabled to help build more homes that plug gaps in the market - particularly building the next generation of affordable homes, homes meeting the needs of those in crisis, and to support a healthy and ageing population.


We're delighted that the report reflects our call for a renaissance in council house building in our manifesto. We support the Commission's findings that: 


  • "Council house building must be at the centre of a renewed effort to deliver homes that generate growth"; and
  • "calls on the Government to build on the principles of self-financing and provide certainty and flexibility for councils to invest in much needed social housing through their Housing Revenue Accounts" 


The report also says that the economic uncertainty facing housebuilders following the UK's vote to leave the European Union could make it difficult for private developers to rapidly build enough homes on their own.


Research by the LGA also shows that four million working people will need access to some type of affordable housing even if the country achieves full employment by 2024. Their analysis revealed that widespread demand for affordable homes will be much higher should the country fail to train millions to take the higher skilled and higher paid jobs that are projected to be created by 2024.


At the LGA Annual Conference this week, local government leaders insist a "national renaissance" in council housebuilding must be central to solving the chronic housing shortage, and for delivering the mix of different homes that meet the growing and changing needs of communities.


The last time the country was building more than the 250,000 houses, as estimated the nation currently needs, was in 1977/78, when councils built 44 per cent of new homes.


Cllr Peter Box, LGA Housing spokesman, said: "The housing crisis is affecting more and more families every year. For many, studying hard and succeeding in work will no longer guarantee an affordable and decent place to live.


"Even if the country is able to achieve full employment in 2024, around four million working people will need some type of affordable housing as wages struggle to keep pace with house prices.


"Bold new action is needed and in the wake of the UK's decision to leave the European Union. National and local government must come together around our joint ambition to build homes and strong, inclusive communities.


"A renaissance in house building by councils must be at the heart of this bold new action. The private sector clearly plays a crucial role but it cannot build the homes we need on its own, and will likely be further restricted by uncertainties in the months and years ahead. 


"The focus of councils is beyond bricks and mortar. Investment in housing has significant wider benefits and we want to build the right homes in the right places that can generate growth and jobs, help meet the needs of our ageing population, and provide the infrastructure, schools and hospitals that enable communities to thrive.


"We must be freed to make this change happen. Today, our LGA Housing Commission aims to build on what we know works so that councils and our partners can lead the building of homes, communities and prosperity for future generations."


John Bibby, ARCH Chief Executive, welcomed the LGA Report and also called for a renaissance in council house building:


"With the uncertainty around Britain's exit from the EU, now is the time for the government to invest in Britain's infrastructure including new municipal housing. If Britain is to re-assert its independence in a global economy, it's essential that working people have access to decent affordable housing and a renaissance in council house building will ensure the provision of an appropriate mix of housing of all tenures which is essential in attracting employers and employees to an area and creating a flexible and mobile workforce.


"The previous Coalition Government put in place the framework to enable councils to invest in much needed social housing through the self-financing regime introduced in 2012. The new Prime Minister needs to re-affirm the principles of self-financing to enable councils to invest in new council housing for the benefit of lower paid workers and the economy as a whole." 

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ARCH Member Comments 4 people like this

  • Mick Daniels, Sheffield CC - 08 July 2016

    Things might come clearer when we get a tenant friendly update on what is happening and when it actually becomes into force