According to the Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH), the Government could generate billions of pounds and generate more than 20,000 jobs by investing in housing. With just three weeks to go until the 2013 budget is to be presented, the CIH have submitted to Chancellor George Osborne a four-point plan, which they believe can deliver 100,000 new and refurbished homes for rent across the market and affordable rented sectors. They estimate that by following this plan, £5.7bn of economic activity could be generated, as well as supporting 24,000 jobs each year.
Among the measures they would like to see the Government introduce is a Stamp Duty holiday for landlords bringing empty homes back into use as rented accommodation. They say this would help bring 5,000 homes a year back into use through £50m a year of private investment. This could create £142m of economic activity and support 600 jobs a year at an estimated maximum cost to the Government of £12.5m.
They suggested amending local authority borrowing rules, enabling them to invest more in the development of new homes. This would release close to £10bn of investment over five years, which would see the building of 15,000 homes and support 23,500 jobs a year, adding £5.6bn to the economy each year.
Another measure suggested was to give landlords the confidence to invest for the future by providing longer term certainty on rents in the affordable housing sector post-April 2015 (echoing other calls in the sector for clarity on rental policy after 2015) – enabling landlords to secure £3bn a year of new private finance to invest in new homes.
The submission also called for an increase in the Discretionary Housing Payments budget to £250m per year to help benefit claimants through welfare reform changes.
CIH chief executive Grainia Long said, “The road to economic recovery is proving rocky at best and the government’s own figures show that housing starts dropped by 11 per cent in 2012, highlighting our inability to build the homes we so desperately need.
“But ministers have an opportunity to tackle both of these issues at once – these four measures would increase the housing industry’s ability to contribute to our national economic recovery while addressing an increasingly chronic shortage of affordable homes.
“We know government recognises the central role housing can play in creating growth – the measures in our four-point plan show concrete steps it can take to increase action on the ground.”
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