The Wokingham Paper

More than 100,000 new affordable homes needed for key workers each year

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MORE than 100,000 affordable homes need to be built each year for key workers of the pandemic, said the Local Government Association (LGA) in a new report.

Delivery of Council Housing – Developing a Stimulus Package Post-Pandemic was released on Sunday, June 21 and calls for a “post-pandemic building boom” to build “housing fit for social care, health and other key workers who have fought coronavirus on the
frontline and the families of those who lost their lives”.

The LGA are calling for the large-scale social house-building programme to be led by councils.

This — the LGA said — could be helped by reforming the Right to Buy system so that councils can retain 100% of receipts from the sale of homes under the scheme. The association is also calling for the deadline to spend the money from sales to be extended to at least five years.

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.

“A programme of 100,000 social homes a year would not only meet a third of the Government’s house-building target, but it would generate a range of social and economic benefits.

“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.”

The LGA also hopes the social homes built will benefit the national economy.

Research conducted for the LGA and partners found that investment in “a new generation of social housing” could return £320 billion to the nation over 50 years.

It also found that every £1 invested in a new social home generates £2.84 in the wider economy with every new social home generating a saving of £780 a year in housing benefit.

In the draft local plan update, Wokingham Borough Council has reiterated its commitment to providing affordable housing.

The draft plan states: “The needs of our communities will be at the heart of the places that are built. This means that new homes will respond to the diverse needs of residents, including the local demographic need, and meeting our overall requirement for housing.

“Providing affordable housing and specialist homes which allow people to live independently will be at the heart of what we do, with housing also offered for people who require support.”

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