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Builders' lobby group backs our view on housing

(June 16, 2009)

A LEADING grouping of British builders has come to the same opinion as Vision for Warminster about the best way to solve the housing crisis and kick-start the economy.

The Federation of Master Builders says building council houses is what is needed.

“I’m pleased that this organisation has come to the same opinion as us,” said Steve Dancey, co-author of the Vision for Warminster.

“It is obvious that as it was housing which dragged us into this depression it will be housing that ultimately drags us out but without this action it won’t happen.”

The federation says that cash generated from council house rents in the 206 council housing organisations across England needs to be ploughed back into building more social housing rather than left to sit in a national pot waiting for redistribution.

Brian Berry, Director of External Affairs at the FMB said: “At a time when more than 4.5 million people are on council house waiting lists and house building is at its lowest level since 1924 it makes no sense for central government to sit on an estimated £200 million pot of money waiting for redistribution.

“It would be far better to allow local authorities to keep the cash generated from rents to build more homes in their own area.

“Such a move would benefit both those waiting for an affordable home and the house builders who are experiencing the worst recession in living memory.

“The Government should allow councils to operate in a similar way to housing associations who can borrow freely and  keep the cash  generated from rents to plough back into their  businesses.

“The estimated £200 million surplus could deliver around 1,800 council houses which is a lot more than the £50 million extra for new council housing announced in the Chancellor’s Budget in April..

“At no extra cost the new Housing Minister John Healey MP could make a real difference to thousands of people, both in terms of providing more affordable homes and creating jobs in the building sector, and help restore the Government’s tarnished record on housing policy.”

Well put Mr Berry.

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