Councils call for 100,000 new homes for coronavirus key workers
Councils are calling for the construction of 100,000 new social homes to house social care, health and other key workers who have fought coronavirus, as well as for families of those who have lost their lives.
The Local Government Association (LGA) said councils needed powers to build thousands more council homes where they are needed locally.
It argued that not only would this boost the supply of affordable housing, it would also enable the country to get building again following a downturn in construction as a result the coronavirus pandemic.
In a new report, entitled Delivery of Council Housing – Developing a Stimulus Package Post-Pandemic, the LGA called on government to expand council housing delivery by bringing forward and increasing the £12bn extension of the Affordable Homes Programme announced in the Budget earlier this year, with an increased focus on homes for social rent.
It also urged the government to reform Right to Buy, with councils able to retain 100% of receipts from the sale of homes under the scheme, the deadline to spend the money from sales should be extended to at least five years, and councils need the power to set the size of discounts locally.
And it recommended a skills and jobs strategy to increase the capacity of the construction industry and meet the needs of accelerating a social housing building programme.
Research for the LGA and partners has found that investment in a new generation of social housing could return £320 billion to the nation over 50 years. It also found that every £1 invested in a new social home generates £2.84 in the wider economy with every new social home generating a saving of £780 a year in housing benefit.
Cllr David Renard, LGA housing spokesman, said: “As the nation comes through the biggest crisis we have faced since the second world war, we owe it to the health, care and other essential public service workers, who have risked their lives to keep the country running to provide them with affordable, high-quality homes fit for heroes.
“The government should let councils take charge of the housing recovery, by giving them the powers and tools to build more of the affordable homes the country desperately needs.”