Saturday, 10 November 2012

We must have a plan to build 7,300 homes in the North West

The government should back Labour’s plan to build thousands of new affordable homes to boost the economy and create thousands of new jobs.

Labour says the government should use the £3 billion expected to be raised from the forthcoming auction of the 4G mobile phone spectrum to:
  1.  fund the building of 100,000 new affordable homes across the country including 7,300 in the North West 
  2. and back people aspiring to own their own homes by introducing a two-year stamp-duty holiday for first time buyers purchasing properties worth up to £250,000.
With our economy flatling over the last year and unemployment in North West too high, we need urgent action to kick-start the economy and create desperately needed new jobs.

The government should use the funds raised from the 4G auction to put something back into the economy, build thousands of much-needed affordable homes and help first-time buyers. It would also help create thousands of new jobs and apprenticeships in the construction industry and the supply chain too.

Around 7,300 new affordable homes – to buy and to rent – could be built in North West with Labour’s plan. The National Housing Federation says this could create up to 11,100 jobs in construction and 44,400 in the wider supply chain.

Labour’s plan has been backed by the Confederation of British Industry and it’s time this Conservative-led government stopped being so complacent about the state of the economy and backed it too.

Construction industry key to recovery.

It is good news that the UK has finally come out of the longest double-dip recession since the Second World War, but our economy is now only the same size as a year ago and has grown by just 0.6 per cent since the spending review two years ago – compared to the 4.6 per cent forecast at the time.

The construction sector has been particularly hard hit – contracting by 10 per cent over the last year and losing 119,000 jobs in the last two years.

That is why Labour is warning that this is no time for complacency and calling on the government to urgently adopt a plan for jobs and growth in order to secure, strengthen and sustain the recovery and build the homes we need for the future.

At last month’s Labour Party Conference shadow chancellor Ed Balls, together with Hilary Benn and Jack Dromey, called for the £3bn to £4bn expected to be raised from the forthcoming 4G mobile phone spectrum to be used to:
  1. build 100,000 more affordable homes to kick-start the economy and create hundreds of thousands of jobs;
  2. and back people aspiring to own their own home by introducing a 2 year stamp duty holiday for all first time buyers purchasing properties up to £250,000.
John Cridland, the director general of the Confederation of British Industry, said the plan was “exactly what the economy needs”.

Using the lower estimate of £3 billion would allow 100,000 affordable homes – a mix of shared ownership (50%), intermediate rent (35%) and social rent (15%) – to be built at a cost of £2.5 billion and the two-year stamp duty holiday at a cost of around £500m.

This announcement is part of Labour’s five point plan for jobs and growth – which includes a temporary VAT cut and bringing forward infrastructure investment. It is in addition to the 25,000 homes for social rent Labour has already said should be funded by part of the funds raised from a tax on bank bonuses.

The National Housing Federation estimates that the building of these 100,000 homes would create over 150,000 jobs in the construction industry and up to 600,000 jobs in the supply chain.

The Conservative-led government has cut the budget for new affordable homes by 60 per cent – from an investment of £8.4bn in the three years 2008-11 to just £4.5bn in the four years 2011-15. Statistics from the Homes and Communities Agency show that social housing starts collapsed 91 per cent and there has been a 68 per cent fall in affordable housing in the last financial year 2011-2012.

National Housing Federation figures showing how many homes could be built with this funding – and how many jobs could be created as a result – in each region of England, together with a model press release, can be found below.