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15/11/2018

Housing investment unfairly distributed

Words: Laura Edgar
New housing / Shutterstock_509223637

Government investment in five housing programmes across England over the next five years is skewed in favour of the South East.

Of the £7 billion allocated, 80 per cent will be channelled towards the areas with the “highest affordability pressure”, largely in the south and east of England.

This is according to analysis by Core Cities UK and the Key Cities Group of the government’s policy document Geographical Targeting Across 5 Housing Programme Funds.

The organisations say the figures show how applying the government’s definition, using a ratio of median house prices to median workplace-based household incomes, “skews the allocation of around £5.6 billion available from these programmes”. This definition, when applied, favours the more affluent areas of the country.

A colour-coded map by Core Cities UK and the Key Cities Group demonstrates shows three areas north of the M62 in receipt of significant investment.

Judith Blake, leader of Leeds City Council and chair of Core Cities UK, insisted it is vital there is a fair approach to government housing investment across the country.

“The way funding for housing and infrastructure is currently being prioritised is already putting many of our major towns and cities at a disadvantage. We should be moving away from competitive and ultimately counterproductive drivers of investment such as mortgage affordability and land value uplift towards a collaborative and place-based approach where national and local governments work together to tailor cross-tenure solutions to meet local demands and opportunities.

“The current proposal is likely to further consolidate the economic gaps between London, the South East and the rest of the country.”

Peter Box, leader of Wakefield Council and chair of Key Cities Group, added: “We are particularly disappointed that areas that Key Cities represent appear to suffer as a result of this formula, particularly the north of England and the Midlands. We call on government to reconsider the methodology being used to calculate these grants.”

The organisations represent 30 key urban centres across England, Scotland and Wales including Birmingham, Bournemouth, Bristol, Leeds, Manchester and Newcastle.

Image credit | Shutterstock

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