Pledge by councillors to build new council homes

  • A survey has found that 93% of England's lead councillors on housing want to build new council homes.

    However research by the Smith Institute found that only 10% actually plan to build more than 1,000 homes over the next ten years and 75% of councillors said they would borrow to build new housing if the government lifted the debt cap.

    From the survey it was found that councillors do plan to build new homes under the revenue account and new build council housing was also indicated as a main investment priority by 60%. 64% said that building social housing is a top priority. Over the next ten years 43% of councillors are planning to build between 101-500 homes.

    Almost 40% have said that their HRA plans would not make up for their loss of stock however 37% said that it would provide additional new homes. 81% of councillors felt pressure to keep rents low and 64% said they would make use of "affordable rent", reports 24dash.

    Paul Hackett, director of the Smith Institute, said: "The survey shows widespread support for a renaissance in council housing, and an appetite among larger local authorities to borrow to build under the new HRA system. Investing in new council housing could help solve the nation's housing crisis."

    Lord Larry Whitty, chair of Housing Voice, said: "There is a chronic shortage of supply in all parts of the affordable housing market. We should see councils who have retained their own housing stock make a major contribution to new build. This survey shows that in many cases there is a strong commitment to expanding council housing - but that substantial barriers need to be overcome, some innovative solutions need to be developed, and that central government needs to change its view."

    UNISON general secretary Dave Prentis said: "Urgent government action is needed to deliver more homes. Whilst 93% of councillors are saying they want to build, something is drastically wrong when only 10% have plans to build more than 1000 homes over the next ten years. Government cuts to local councils are having a direct impact on their ability to build more homes.
    There is a shortage of housing and targets for new housebuilding are not being met. In all regions availability is not keeping up with demand, which is creating an upward pressure on housing costs. A large and determined building programme would help boost our bottomed-out economy by creating tens of thousands of jobs, stimulating economic activity and providing the homes the country so desperately needs."

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