Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Building for the future

A few days ago, Cllr John 'Slugger' Lines announced that Birmingham City Council would be building hundreds of new council houses, using the opportunity to throw a punch at Labour

Since 1997 Labour has built no council homes in Birmingham. Gordon Brown has failed to provide homes for the people of this city.

Salma Yacoub joined the fun, adding that
It is a sad indictment of this Labour Government, which claims to represent those in need, has only built 375 council homes in the UK over the last year and a Conservative in Birmingham will build 500 a year

In my view, this is one policy that we have got wrong over recent years - Labour should be pumping money into building new houses for rent. Birmingham alone has 35,000 people on the council waiting list and there are millions more across the country in need of homes. Not only would we be housing people, we could also provide a desperately-needed boost to the dormant construction industry, putting people back into real jobs and providing something more than disposable consumer goods. The 131 proposed by the Council is only a drop of the ocean required to fill the need.

But hang on a second - where exactly is the money coming from to build these houses?

According to the document submitted to Cabinet, just under half of the first tranche is expected from the Homes & Communities Agency - some £7.2 million, with a further £8 million to come from the seemingly endless pot of 'Prudential Borrowing'. And where does the HCA get its funding?

That would be from the Labour government.

Top marks to Cllr Lines for making a start, but it will only happen because of support from the current government.

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