Pension funds could finance new homes, report suggests

The Future Homes Commission, set up by the Royal Institute of British Architects, has released a report suggesting that council pension funds could be used to build 100,000 to 300,000 homes in the UK every year. The report said a housing revolution would lead to economic growth and create tens of thousands of jobs was possible without increasing government debt.

Research by the commission has shown that the assets in local government pension schemes could be pooled to provide a £10bn housing fund.

The Housing Minister, Mark Prisk, has said that the proposals are innovative and interesting and would be considered carefully.

Commission chairman Sir John Banham said, “There is no better time to tackle the UK housing crisis. After a year-long national inquiry, the Future Homes Commission has concluded a housing revolution is entirely possible and will lead economic growth.

We need to increase massively the number of quality homes being built for many years to come, but also to develop communities which enhance the quality of life for both new residents and those living in existing communities nearby. All this has to, and can, happen without any additional government funding.

We strongly believe that local government can become the leader of new development once again, by using their assets and powers to create the type of mature, sustainable, mixed tenure communities that Britain needs and that institutional and international investors want to invest in.”

The study said the UK needed a threefold increase in the number of new homes to help end the “blight” of poor housing. The Local Housing Development Fund would be used to build quality homes that could be sold in the future to replenish the pot.

There has been a positive response form local councils but many have stated that the government must ease restrictions on the ability of local authorities to borrow for house building to help fully implement these plans.

Orginally posted on BBC News

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