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Frances Traynor's picture

Call for National Housing Fund to deliver 40,000 new homes annually

Tue, 18 Jul 2017



This article refers to a recent Home Buyers Survey.

An independent thinktank wants the UK government to create a national housing fund that would help housing associations to build 40,000 homes every year. ResPublica launched its report – A National Housing Fund to Build Homes We Need – on July 14 and called on the government to use historically low interest rates to borrow the finance needed to establish the project.

The report, making the economic and social case for government investment, has received support from across the political spectrum.

Its authors claim that a National Housing Fund would boost public finances, create new construction jobs and empower small developers. The report suggests that a 50-50 split ownership of the fund between central government and housing associations would provide the best way forward with the associations accessing the cash and using their expertise in building and managing properties.

Boosting construction sector and public finances

Such a scenario would see a minimum of 40,000 homes built every year; 180,000 jobs created in the construction sector; public finances boosted by £3.4billion; and help SMEs by providing certainty of investment.

Crucially, say the authors, the National Housing Fund can be structured in a way that would not add to the country's deficit.

Philip Callan, the managing director of PCA and one of the report's authors, said: "Our report focuses on the practical steps that government can take to deliver many more homes. All of our proposed actions are in their control. What is needed now is the political will and leadership to make it happen."

A formula to build at scale

Phillip Blond, the director of ResPublica and a co-author of the report, added: "We must make radical changes if we are going to address a problem that is dividing our society between those who can afford to enter the property market and those who are priced out.

"Through the notion of a guaranteed buyer, we reinvent the only formula that has ever enabled the state to build at scale."

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