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LGA launches housing commission

Words: Laura Edgar
Construction / iStock_000004570153

The Local Government Association (LGA) has launched a Housing Commission to explore “new routes” to house building so that councils can enable the building of more “desperately needed” homes.

Local authorities, according to the LGA, which represents more than 370 councils in England and Wales, are “desperate” to dramatically increase the availability of new homes in their areas.

It is vital to build the “230,000 new homes the country needs each year, as private developers have not built more than 150,000 homes a year for more than three decades”, said the LGA.

The Housing Commission also aims to explore the importance of effective housing in boosting jobs and growth as well as helping to meet the needs of an ageing population.

The LGA has laid out four themes for the commission to focus on:

  • House building – finding new ways that councils can enable investment in new homes

  • Place-making, community and infrastructure – the role of councils in shaping homes within prosperous places and communities

  • Employment, welfare reform and social mobility – the role of housing in supporting tenants to find and prgress in sustained employment

  • Health and quality of life for an ageing population - the role of housing in adapting to an ageing population and preventing onward costs to social care and health services.

The LGA is seeking evidence on the key issues that communities are dealing with, as well as partners and councils. Additionally, evidence on good practice on how these issues have been addressed is being sought. Views from councils, partners, organisations and individuals are welcome.

Peter Box, LGA housing spokesman, said: “We're working with government to ensure housing and planning reforms support council efforts to build more homes and the Housing Commission we are launching today (2 December) will investigate how the government and councils can help deliver houses to solve our housing shortage.

“Councils must be able to play a lead role in building the homes we desperately need, and building the homes in a way that create prosperous places and growth, help people into work and positively adapt to an ageing population.

“This is the best way to meet local and central government ambitions for our communities, to reduce waiting lists and housing benefit, keep rents low and help more people live long and happy lives.”

The commission’s findings will be brought together in a report that is set to be published in spring 2016.