Increased funding and investment in planning skills are required to reverse disproportionate cuts to councils in the north of England, according to research published today.
Carried out by the UK Collaborative Centre for Housing Evidence, the research found the average net spend on housing by Northern English local authorities has fallen by 54% since 2010/11, compared to a reduction of 34% elsewhere.
Spending on building control has fallen by 60% and planning policy has been reduced by more than a third.
The Northern Housing Consortium (NHC), which includes councils, has called for a real-terms increase in local authority funding, ‘place-based outcome-focused’ deals to rebuild capacity and a ‘national centre of specialist expertise’ in the north.
NHC chief executive, Tracy Harrison said: ‘Our northern council members have had to be creative to deliver on their housing aspirations while under huge pressure due to cuts in their resources.
‘We are ambitious to do more right across the north but to do this councils need a commitment from Government to level-up funding.’
Manchester City Council’s executive member for housing and regeneration, Cllr Suzanne Richards, added: ‘Local authorities have not only lost capacity in direct service provision, but we have also lost people, along with them huge amounts of knowledge, skill and experience.
‘If Government will invest in these areas, we can develop a new generation of professionals and begin to tackle the housing crisis faced by our country.’