23/02/2009

Group Calls For £6.3bn Social Housing Boost

The Government has been urged to kick-start the economy by investing £6.3 billion in social housing over the next two years.

A newly-formed campaign group - The 2020 Group - has said the credit crunch has meant a collapse in house prices and lending, and an estimated loss of 450,000 job losses in the construction industry between 2008 and 2010.

The 2020 Group is made up of the National Housing Federation (NHF), housing charity Shelter, the Local Government Association (LGA) and the Trades Union Congress (TUC).

The group says providing new social housing will save construction jobs and also support other related industries, as well as meeting an "urgent" demand.

Leading economist Kate Barker, who chairs the group said "significant" extra financial investment was needed to keep supply going, support private building and create 100,000 new social homes over the coming two years.

Costing £6bn, the programme also would help meet the massive pent-up demand caused partly by the recent rise in repossessions. Council housing waiting lists in England are expected to reach 5m by the end of 2010.

She said: "Support for housing today offers excellent value in terms of sustaining economic activity, and reduces the risk of a very severe loss of capacity in the housing and related industries.

"There is real concern that the present fall in home building is sowing the seeds of the next boom. Social housing waiting lists are rising. This package meets a real and urgent need."

Brendan Barber, TUC General Secretary, also said: "When such investment can ensure such an important sector as construction retain jobs, capacity and its skills base, the case for a significant boost in the budget becomes overwhelming."

The call by the 2020 Group comes as Prime Minister Gordon Brown and Chancellor Alistair Darling work on April's Budget. The group has said it wants "major investment" in house building included in the Government's figures as the certain way of supporting the economy.

(JM/BMcC)

Related UK National News Stories
Click here for the latest headlines.

19 May 2015
Welsh Govt Commits £108m For Social Housing
The Welsh Government has announced it is to invest £108m in the country's social housing stock. The funding will be used by local authorities and Registered Social Landlords to improve homes and ensure they are safe, secure and met the Welsh Housing Quality Standard (WHQS).
07 July 2009
Migrants 'Not Getting Housing Priority'
The vast majority of people who live in social housing in Britain were born in the UK according to a research study published by the Equality and Human Rights Commission today.
17 August 2009
Shelter Say 'Cancel RTB On New Tenancies'
The Right to Buy (RTB) should be scrapped for all new tenancies, according to housing charity, Shelter Scotland. The charity is calling on the Scottish Government to be bolder in its reform of RTB by ending the policy for all new tenancies.
31 August 2010
Four-Year Negative Equity Warning For Homeowners
Tens of thousands of homeowners who bought a property during the housing boom face another four years of being trapped in negative equity, according to the National Housing Federation. The NHF said that people who purchased a property in England at the peak of the market in 2007 paid an average price of £216,800.
08 September 2010
Jobs Under Threat As Housing Firm Faces Collapse
Thousands of jobs are at risk with the news that social housing firm Connaught is facing administration. The company is expected to announce that it is being put in administration later today.