I’ve been adopting a wait and see approach to the Brown government, but if this report in the Observer is true, it is most certainly a good thing. Councils are apparently to be permitted to build more housing stock and possibly have rent income released back to them to do so.
I’ve called for this before. The reasoning is simple. Housing Associations can’t and/or won’t invest the capital on anything like the scale required. The private sector was always going to be hopeless in providing housing for the low income (and only the most utterly deluded of Thatcherites ever thought otherwise). Historically and for the foreseeable future, it takes state support via local authorities to provide sufficient half-decent homes.
Also interesting is a suggestion of a crackdown on Buy to Let properties being left empty. That is going to be an intriguing one to pull off.
We now expect a housing green paper in a week’s time. I can hardly contain my excitement.
Now, to make this housing lawyer (to be) very happy, how about implementing the Law Commission Renting Homes report (pdf) via its Draft Bill (pdf) at the same time? C’mon Yvette, talk to Jack and Gordon