Picture of new build houses on an estate.

“Council housing revolution” key to local recovery

The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has released a report, titled Homes for all: Putting council housing at the heart of local recovery, which sets out how slight Government shifts can have a massive effect on not only housing, but on the economy on a broader scale.

The report pushes for more high quality, safe sustainable homes that will help to take some of the 1.15m people off the housing waiting list.

The report outlines that by building 90,000 new homes per year, it would not only meet demand for housing but would also create approximately 250,000 new jobs in the sector, generating millions in tax revenue.

In the report, RIBA target 3 Government bodies, believing that making small changes within these bodies can have a massive knock-on effect.

RIBA want HM Treasury to remove borrowing and spending limits on local authorities and provide grants to be able to provide social housing to residents, in turn reducing the long term costs of such projects.

The Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government should let local authorities set their own planning fees so that they can adequately invest in resourcing to cover development management responsibilities.

The report also calls for Homes England to explore a multitude of solutions to the housing shortage to assess which way forward will work best at providing quality homes as well as meeting the demand that the country needs.

RIBA President, Alan Jones, said:

“The UK has some of the worst housing in Europe. Too many people find themselves living in sub-standard, unhealthy housing that fails to meet their needs. There are over one million households on the waiting list for social housing in England alone, with many of these are currently living in poorly maintained, short-term and expensive privately rented homes. This is a stark illustration of the scale of our housing crisis.

“We urgently need a radical new approach to council housing that will deliver safe, low carbon, healthy homes and spaces around them. Housing that creates identity, pride and belonging, and helps to drive the recovery from the economic impact of Covid-19 by creating new jobs and boosting our economy. With wide-ranging reforms to the planning system on the agenda, it is vital that Government addresses the factors that have contributed to the failing system.

“If the Government is serious about ‘Building Back Better’ it needs to back local authorities to invest in their communities and build homes fit for the future.”

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