The Prime Minister’s recent speech at the Conservative Party conference shows that the Government have finally listened to the argument that local councils must be a part of the solution to Britain’s chronic housing shortage. This is to be achieved by scrapping limits on council’s ability to borrow to build.
This is now one of the most pressing issues we face. It is apparent that only an increase of all types of housing, including those for affordable or social rent will solve the housing crisis.
Indeed, it was back in the 1970’s when Britain last built homes on the scale that we now need.
Forest of Dean District Council looks forward to working with housing associations and developers to build the good quality affordable homes that we need.
However, whilst grateful for the government’s recent change of policy, we must inject a note of caution. Many authorities, including the Forest of Dean have not built their own social housing for years. Nationally, last year, local authorities only built
1840 homes , a mere 2% of new house builds.
In actual fact , Forest of Dean District Council has for some time been exploring the setting up of a housing company to deliver the kind of homes our people need. However, no one should be under any illusions about the challenge we face in getting the development expertise we need to take this forward.
So, yes it is encouraging that the Tories have eventually realised the necessity to get councils building homes for affordable rent. Maybe it is cynical to ask why it has taken so long. Could it be to divert attention from the mess they are making of Brexit.