Council pension funds could solve UK’s housing crisis, report says

House building

A major change is needed in the way new housing development in the UK is funded and built, a new report said today.

The Future Homes Commission, which was set up by the Royal Institute of British Architects, has proposed that some of the assets in council pension funds be pooled to provide a £10bn housing fund that would be invested in new rental and shared-ownership housing.

This fund could be tapped to build 300,000 good quality homes in the UK every year, in sustainable communities of mixed-tenure homes, the Future Homes Commission claims. According to the report, the extra homes should be built on brownfield land and on sites close to virtually every city, town and village as part of a new “housing revolution”.

In addition to easing the current housing crisis, the additional development would create tens of thousands of jobs and lead to economic growth, without increasing government spending or debt.

Today’s report follows a year-long, detailed inquiry by the Future Homes Commission which considered the state of housing across the UK and the opportunities that are yet to be exploited. As part of its research the Commission surveyed public opinion and sought evidence from independent experts in housing policy, the local housing market and construction industries, local government and international real estate fund management.

In response to the report, housing charity Shelter confirmed that a huge increase in house building is necessary to keep up with the growing number of new households and to meet the existing unmet backlog of need. It also stressed that new developments must provide well-designed and attractive homes, and urged the government to ensure that the ongoing review of housing standards results in minimum national standards for space, storage, noise insulation and natural light.

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