The Local Government Association has called for a social house building boom to spearhead the national recovery from the virus and provide an important stimulus to construction.
The cross-party LGA says the modern day “homes for heroes” plan would return £320bn to the nation over 50 years.
It also argued that every £1 invested in a new social home would generate £2.84 in the wider economy with every new social home generating a saving of £780 a year in housing benefit.
A large-scale social house-building programme could help to meet a third of the Government’s 300,000 new homes a year target.
It would also help realise the Government’s ambition of providing 6,000 new homes for rough sleepers taken off the streets during the pandemic.
A report launched today, Delivery of Council Housing – Developing a Stimulus Package Post-Pandemic, sets out some key measures needed to bring about a new major building programme of social homes.
LGA stimulus recommendations
- 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.
- Right to Buy should be reformed to allow councils to retain 100 per cent of receipts from the sale of homes. 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.
- To increase the capacity of the building industry, which will have suffered following coronavirus, a skills and jobs strategy is needed to meet the needs of accelerating a social housing building programme.
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.
“Now is the time for a genuine renaissance in council house-building that reduces homelessness, gets people off the streets for good, supports people’s wellbeing and is climate-friendly.”