William Eichler 17 November 2016

£100bn National Housing Fund could deliver thousands of homes

A prominent think tank has proposed the creation of a long-term National Housing Fund to deliver up to 75,000 homes a year.

Over the last 35 years, the UK has built an average of 150,000 homes a year. This has fallen well short of demand and led to intergenerational inequality between ‘generation rent’ and ‘generation buy’.

A new report from ResPublica, Going to Scale, has proposed the formation of a £100bn National Housing Fund, backed by Whitehall, to overcome the fundamental problems of number, pace and scale.

Acting as a guaranteed buyer, the Fund would deliver between 40,000 and up to 75,000 new homes across England, ‘unleashing’ the potential of housing associations and SME developers to build homes.

Report-co-author and director of ResPublica, Phillip Blond, said: ‘Our National Housing Fund offers the British Government a way to finally build the homes it acknowledges it needs.

‘Through the notion of a guaranteed buyer – we reinvent the only formula that has ever enabled the state to build at scale.

‘Crucially we will dramatically expand the capacity of two relatively dormant sectors, the SME building market and housing associations such that they too can build at scale and open up the market for the millions who need it to work for them.’

Clive Betts, Labour MP and chairman of the Communities and Local Government Select Committee, said: ‘Housing is one of the top challenges we face as a country. We cannot continue with record high rents, increasing homelessness and a generation locked out of home ownership – and we need to ask serious questions about how we can deliver homes at the scale we need.

‘As the Communities and Local Government Committee undertakes our inquiry into this key issue, I strongly welcome ResPublica’s vital and innovate new report that sets out fresh thinking on housing in Britain, and I urge the government to pay heed to its important proposals.’

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