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Metro mayors call for government housing support

Words: Laura Edgar
New homes / Shutterstock_425872609

England’s metro mayors have come together to call on the government for further investment and devolution for each of their city-regions.

They met at a summit in Birmingham hosted by Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA), the University of Birmingham and the Local Government Association (LGA).

The five mayors – Street, Steve Rotherham (Liverpool City Region), James Palmer (Cambridgeshire and Peterborough), Tim Bowles (West of England), and Andy Burnham (Greater Manchester) – signed a letter to Prime Minister Theresa May that calls on the government to review the way funding for new housing is allocated to city-regions.

The letter notes the needs of each region, including the need to regenerate brownfield sites and improve the viability of development where land values are lower than in London and the South East. They want the formulae used to allocate housing investment to be reviewed so that city-regions outside London and the South East “do not lose out on vital funding”.

For the mayors, investment in housing supply, as well as skills and innovation in the construction industry, will accelerate economic growth and the rebalancing of the UK economy.

The city-regions are currently negotiating housing deals with the government, which would see them commit to building more homes in return for infrastructure and housing funding.

Street said: “As metro mayors, we are in a unique position to contribute to solving the housing challenge for the government.

“Because we each represent and work with several local authorities, we can provide the coordination and direction to accelerate the building of homes in our respective areas.

“But that requires the government to provide the investment and powers so that we can deliver the new homes our regions and the country need.”

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