Councils respond to Future Homes Commission's calls for a UK housing revolution
- Published on Friday, 26 October 2012 10:18
- Posted by Vicki Mitchem
Responding to the Future Homes Commission's report calling for local government pension funds to be invested in new housing, Local Government Association Chairman Sir Merrick Cockell said:
"There is a dire need for new homes and councils across the country are working tirelessly with developers to release land, secure investment and give builders the flexibility they need to get on with the sort of schemes that will bring growth, jobs and new housing where they are needed.
"The real stumbling block to economic growth and new development is not the planning system but a lack of finance which is leaving buyers unable to buy and developers unable to build. Local authorities can play their part in tackling this, but we first need government to lift some of the restrictions stopping us.
"Councils are very keen to explore the opportunity to use pension funds to drive local economic growth. A few projects are already off the ground but with a bit more support we could put even more of the schemes' billions of pounds in collective assets to work. The LGA has been discussing the potential for unlocking further investment with pension funds to explore the obstacles to this type of investment that exist at present. We have asked the Government to help clear the barriers standing in the way of direct investment in job creating infrastructure projects.
"In addition to pension schemes, there are other avenues through which councils could unlock finance to boost development. Lifting restrictions on local authority borrowing would free councils to build new affordable homes and kick-start job-creating infrastructure projects. Councils have a proven track record of prudent borrowing. Their credit rating is excellent and interest rates would be low. It is time British councils are allowed to take advantage of these conditions in the same way as municipalities in competing countries, like Germany, already are."