Local authorities based all around the country rally together and call for concrete legislature condoning the building of half a million new homes before 2020.
Stating that the current deficiency in affordable housing is a ìnational scandalî, councils appear to be resolute on the matter, embodying the concerns of buyers across the country for whom talk of the housing market has been a stifling issue.
The Local Governmental Association (LGA), comprised of 370 councils in England and Wales, is demanding the application of various measures to provide the necessary development. These are wide-ranging and include:
New Land trusts with control over public spaces ñ the subsequent provision of these spaces for house building
This would help provide affordable housing for low-income families, promote resident ownership whilst keeping housing reasonably priced for future investors.
Incentives for private construction companies to hasten development on sites that already have planning permission
Sweetening the deal for small businesses, when there is a requirement for immediate provision, is a prudent option saving the state money and hassle in the long term. ~
This can be achieved through various measures: endowment of free land exempt of local or state regulations, industrial revenue bonds or tax increment financing.
Raising or removing the borrowing cap on councils which are seeking to raise funds for development
Local authorities have good credit ratings and are willing to put in the grunt work ñ loosening of regulations is needed as tens of thousands of families are languishing on social housing waiting lists.
Need for Action
Unless action is taken imminently, the LGA warns, Britain will be a 1, 000, 000 homes under the necessary quota by the end of the decade. With a growing population and spiralling house prices, the need for a stable supply of affordable housing has never been more imperative.
If awarded the appropriate powers, the LGA said that councils could build homes at an unthinkably faster rate than at present, comparing prospective development to the golden era of house-building in the 1950s-ë70s.
However, if the issue isnít properly addressed, the organisation warned that housing prices would continue to spiral higher and higher:
“The current housing crisis is nothing short of a national scandal which is going to get worse without radical action,” said Councillor David Sparks, the incoming chairman of the LGA.
According to data gathered by the LGA, house prices have risen by 155% while average wages have increased by a meagre 41% in comparison. As such, over 3, 000, 000 adults are still living with their parents ñ a large proportion of whom are employed, yet have no hope of taking their first steps on the property ladder due to intrinsic flaws within our housing system.
“Over the last two Parliaments, the number of people under 45 who can afford their own home has fallen by a fifth,” said David Sparks.
“Our plans would see half a million new homes built, transforming the lives of hundreds of thousands of families,” he said.
Grainia Long, chief executive of the Chartered Institute of Housing, spoke recently at a CIPFA conference of the increased ëpolitical salienceí of housing.
An institute which has long shown its support for amendment to restrictions on local authorities, the CIPFA criticised policymakers for their narrow view of the housing market. The institute noted that the scale of economic disparity between various regions mean that viewing the housing market as a single entity is foolhardy.
Ms. Long called for government to recognise its duty to co-operate with councils over plans for new homes and endorsed the LGAís aforementioned measures for development.
ìIf one our main aims as a society is to leave the world a better place for future generations, we must take action now to tackle the inequalities in our housing system and address the housing crisis head-on.
She added: ìGovernment must be resolute and defend the need to increase supply. Our polling shows that the public does understand that development is necessary to solve the housing crisis. Resist the temptation to yield to the anti-development lobby, and the profession will back you all the way.î