'Government must show more ambition'

Published on Wednesday, 06 February 2013 09:47
Posted by Vicki Mitchem

The UK's economic recovery is being hampered by a lack of concrete government action on housing, according to the Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH).

Incoming president Paul Tennant will make the comments at the organisation's Presidential Dinner this evening, when Mayor of London Boris Johnson will be outlining his vision to solve the capital's housing crisis

The Mayor's recommendations will include removing town hall borrowing caps to give them more money to invest in building new homes, and giving housing associations long term certainty to build affordable and market homes.

Mr Tennant will say: "CIH urged the government to lift local authority borrowing caps ahead of last year's autumn statement, so we are pleased to see the Mayor calling for a similar measure.

"Lifting the caps would have benefits beyond London. Our analysis shows that raising borrowing caps by £7 billion could support the construction of 60,000 homes over the next five years, creating 23,500 jobs a year and adding £5.6 billion to the economy. What is good for London is good for the rest of the country too.

"Government could provide housing associations, and local authorities, with much-needed certainty by moving quickly to address the uncertainty around social rents post April 2015, giving them the confidence to invest for the future."

Mr Tennant will add: "The tone and content of many government announcements about housing supply and economic growth have been very welcome.

"But concrete progress has been disappointing. New housing numbers are far too low and well short of the 250,000 homes a year we need to build if we are to make a proper contribution to dealing with our housing crisis.

"Too many policies have been too long in their gestation and have yet to have any real impact even months after being announced."

Mr Tennant will say that ministers need to show "more ambition" on housing investment: "The investment made to date is welcome, but it is not enough.  Government can and should do more."

Source: ©CIH

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