Borrow more to boost house building, says Sajid Javid

Yesterday the Communities Secretary Sajid Javid told the BBC's Andrew Marr Show that Government should borrow money to fund the building of hundreds of thousands of new homes.

He said that taking advantage of the record low interest rates “can be the right thing if done sensibly.”

The Government has previously admitted that UK house building is failing to keep up with demand, and have described the current market as broken.

Mr Javid confirmed that successive governments had failed to build enough homes and the housing crisis was “the biggest barrier to social progress in our country today”.

He said between 275,000 and 300,000 homes a year - a level of house-building not seen since the 1960s - were needed in England alone to help tackle the shortage in affordable housing.

"We are looking at new investments and there will be announcements," he said, with them coming in next month's Budget.

Asked about the change in tone from the Tories' previous approach to borrowing, Mr Javid said a distinction should be drawn between "vitally important" deficit reduction and "investing for the future" in housing and infrastructure.

"So for example... you borrow more to invest in the infrastructure that leads to more housing - take advantage of some of the record-low interest rates that we have. I think we should absolutely be considering that," he said.

At the same time his Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) announced a call for evidence (review) with an aim to look at ‘Improving the home buying and selling process’. 

Elmhurst welcomes the debate proposed by the Minister, however, we are also conscious that it was a Conservative Government that tore up the road map towards energy efficient new homes, in its effort “to get Britain Building Again”. Elmhurst and others have campaigned that the homes that we build now, will have a legacy impact on the owners and the wider economy. Another department the Business Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) only last week issued a clear statement that we need a road map to give families warmer and cheaper to run homes in the future.

There needs to dialogue between the different departments, to ensure that the new homes are of continuing better standards. Part L (energy efficiency standards) of the building Regulations in England and Wales has not changed since 2012, yet over the same period technology and innovations have moved on dramatically and reduced in costs. This is a huge missed opportunity and one that requires good quality regulations, enforcement, building standards and joined up thinking between different Government Departments.

For further information:

DCLG Call for Evidence:

BBC News:


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