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.