City firm calls for £10bn social house building push

Aaron Morby 11 years ago

City dealing giant Tullett Prebon is urging Government to take dramatic action to boost the economy with a £10bn social house building programme.

The dealing brokerage said very few options remained to stimulate the economy and argued house building now looked a viable way to drive growth.

Head of global research at Tullett, Dr Tim Morgan, said cash could be raised from a tax on second homes, and receipts from the sale of the most expensive social housing.

The idea of selling off  the most valuable social homes to build more stock was first floated by think tank Policy Exchange last month.

It estimated this could raise up to £6bn to build 80,000 and 170,000 units a year.

But Morgan argues the programme needs to be even more ambitious to get the economy moving again.

He also called on Government to avoid time-consuming “private-public gimmicks like PFI”. And argued for councils or housing associations to deliver the plan.

“The government and social sectors should act as owners and commissioners of new housing, while the role of the private sector would be to build the new homes as contractors.”

Morgan warned the Government’s main challenge would be tackling the ‘Nimbyism’ created by such an ambitious social housing programme.

He said that Government would almost certainly need to reform and streamline the planning system, face down local objections and expose selfish interests.

“The political challenges facing a new building programme should not be under-estimated, but rational calculation surely shows that this is far exceeded by the economic potential of a national housing programme.”

He added: “Longer-term, a house-building programme will pay for itself, both through enhanced economic growth and through a reduced housing benefit burden.

“Nearer term, the divestment of the highest-cost social housing,  and additional levies on second homes, can make significant contributions to defraying the cost.”

The paper comes as the Government prepares to unveiled fresh plans to boost house building next month.

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