National inquiry suggests UK housing revolution could be easy to fund
300,000 extra homes could be built
in the UK every year without an extra penny of Government spending or
debt, claims new report
Alex Johnson has been part of The Independent's online team since 2007. He has been writing about microarchitecture on his internationally-acclaimed Shedworking blog since 2006 and is the author of Shedworking: The Alternative Workplace Revolution. His latest book is Bookshelf, published by Thames & Hudson.
Friday 26 October 2012
The UK is building homes in a "dysfunctional way" and the system needs to be radically overhauled, argues the new study from the Future Homes Commission.
Their report ‘Building the Homes and Communities Britain Needs’suggests the UK can be lifted out of recession, thousands of new jobs generated and the housing shortage problem solved by a complete overhaul of the way new housing development is funded, built and marketed.
The commission calls for a three-fold increase in the number of new homes being built every year, from the current 100,000 to over 300,000 on brownfield land. To achieve this, it suggests setting up an independently managed £10 billion Local Housing Development Fund to kick start the building effort, financed by Local Authority pension funds pooling 15 per cent of their assets to invest in rental and shared-ownership housing.
Chair of the Future Homes Commission Sir John Banham said: "A housing revolution is entirely possible and will lead economic growth. We need to increase massively the number of quality homes being built for many years to come, but also to develop communities which enhance the quality of life for both new residents and those living in existing communities nearby. All this has to and can happen without any additional government funding.
'We strongly believe that local government can become the leader of new development once again, by using their assets and powers to create the type of mature, sustainable, mixed tenure communities that Britain needs and that institutional and international investors want to invest in. After decades on the sidelines, the time is right for local government to show real leadership and realise their potential to shape a positive future for local people by delivering strong, self-financing communities where people want to live and to kick start the demand for better quality housing in the future.'
Royal Institute of British Architects President Angela Brady said: "The recommendations provide an excellent starting point for delivering a radically improved housing market. In particular, the RIBA supports the clear value that should be placed on ensuring the homes we build today meet current buyers’ needs and are fit for future generations."
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