New group calls for £6.3bn housing investment

The Government has been urged to kick-start the economy by investing £6.3bn into a scheme aimed at building more than 100,000 affordable homes over the next two years.

New group calls for £6.3bn housing investment

The newly-formed 2020 Group, an alliance of housing organisations, unions and local authorities, said building more homes would give a desperately-needed boost to the economy, saving thousands of construction jobs and avoiding serious skill shortages.

The credit crunch has seen a collapse in house prices and lending, the near decimation of the house building industry and an estimated 450,000 job losses in the construction industry between 2008 and 2010.

The group is chaired by leading economist Kate Barker, who said that significant extra financial investment was needed to keep supply going, support private building and create 100,000 new social homes over the next two years.

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.”

The call by the 2020 Group comes as four leading industry organisations – BMF, British Precast, FMB and Modern Masonry Alliance – launched the Get Britain Building Campaign, to urge the government to bring in measures to kick start the construction industry.

  • Save 30,000 jobs in the industry, as well as thousands which support the industry, including in building materials, furniture and white goods

  • Preserve construction jobs and apprenticeships which would help prevent a loss of key skills
  • Enable house builders to continue to invest in housing supply and reduce the risk of a housing supply shortage once the economy recovers

  • Improve cash-flow and reduce risk for developers and suppliers currently experiencing severe financial pressure

  • Increase labour market mobility by providing more affordable and social housing.

    The government has said it is already working to get an extra 12,500 affordable homes ready in two years, investing £160m to buy almost 5,000 unsold homes, and spending a further £550m on building 7,500 new properties, as part of a longer-term £8bn programme to deliver more affordable housing both to buy and to rent.

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  • About Fiona Russell-Horne

    Group Managing Editor across the BMJ portfolio.

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