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LGA Calls for Renaissance in Council House Building

The Local Government Association (LGA) has stated that a renaissance in council house building is necessary to address the growing crisis over affordable homes in the UK.

According to the LGA, which represents over 350 councils in England and Wales, councils should have their powers expanded to enable stronger housebuilding activity in the wake of the Brexit vote, which has generated economic uncertainty.

The association found that nearly four million people of working age will still need access to affordable housing by 2024, and 5.4 million will need access if qualification levels do not go up.

Spokespeople for the LGA stated that the last time the UK built more than the 250,000 homes the country needs was in 1977-78. At that time, councils were building approximately 44% of new homes. In contrast, councils were only building 1% of new homes in 2013-14.

The LGA is calling for ministers to take urgent action so that councils can assume their traditional role as a major house builder and help address the country’s intensifying house crisis.

To renew housebuilding activity, the LGA is asking the government to allow councils to borrow money to invest in housing the same way that they can borrow for other projects. In addition to other funding, all of the receipts from homes sold through Right to Buy could be used to build new homes.


Structural Defects Insurance

The Centre for Economics and Business Research released a separate report predicting that in five years’ time, the average home in the UK will still be priced at around £40,000 more, despite the aftermath of the Brexit vote. This means that the average house price could rise to £234,000 in 2021 from £194,000 in today.

Councillor Peter Box, who acts as housing spokesman for the LGA, said that a resurgence in house building by local councils has to propel any forward momentum. Mr Box acknowledged that the private sector has an import function, but it cannot construct the needed homes on its own, and will probably be hampered by future uncertainties.

Councils, he said, want to carry on with the job of building the new properties that their local residents need so badly.

Mr Box warned that if the UK is to stand any chance of overcoming the housing crisis, councils must be able to replenish sold housing stock and build more affordable homes that communities now need more than ever.


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