Recent estimates suggest that we need to build between 243,000 and 280,000 houses a year just to meet current demand. This is a huge challenge that will require innovation, new partnerships and investment – councils will have a big part to play in helping to reverse the housing shortage.
In partnership with Mears, this LGiU project took an in-depth look at the barriers and challenges faced by councils trying to build more homes to house their residents.
Under Construction: Are councils ready to get the nation building?, the final report of this project, examines to what extent councils are ready to take on a role that will drive the building of more houses. The recent review by House and Elphicke argued that councils should become housing delivery enablers rather than pursue the traditional role of directly funding and building houses. Councils are certainly keen to start building again and the political will is there but they will need to approach the role in a more creative way.
Our research suggests there are pockets of innovation and some impressive examples of councils showing leadership, confidence and vision, but it is not widespread across the sector. Our report makes a number of recommendations for councils, to help ensure that they are able to deliver enough houses for their communities in the future:
- Promote leadership and innovation to turn political will into reality
- Address their skills gaps
- Consider housing deals and combined housing authorities
- Rethink departmental structures
- Continuation of the New Homes Bonus
- Make incentives for house building central to future devolution arrangements
- Ensure that incentives for house building are central to the implementation of the Right to Buy extension
To find out more, please contact Andrew Walker, andrew.walker@lgiu.