by Craig Hall

No one can argue that we have a housing crises. There are too few homes usually costing too much, often in the wrong places and often of poor quality. Not to mention rural communities suffering with cost of housing soaring beyond their means or the beach side type, dead in winter, consumed as second homes. These are all symptoms of a much bigger problem with the banks and house builders profiting from existing model.

The paradox of this is two fold. On the one hand you are asking builders to build more houses for less money, on the other, you’re asking the banks to lend money on lower borrowing because more houses will reduce prices leading to lower borrowing. It’s not rocket science.

So how about an idea which would reduce the costs and supply the demand in the right place and of the best quality? Oh, forgot to mention it would also generate, not cost, local councils with additional income.

First you have a competition to design the best tech savvy eco-friendly dwellings single, family and community types. Open to both Colleges and Universities using locally sourced products. Too often the architects have to be clever on tight budgets using the cheapest materials and house builders using the cheapest labour. Expand the remit of the Royal Engineers to build the new housing and creating the apprentices required for such an undertaking. There will be no rush to get things done, they would be done right by people, with pride and the profit motive taken out. That might be why it’s never been brought up. Who the hell would want that!

Too often the architects have to be clever on tight budgets using the cheapest materials and house builders using the cheapest labour

Local councils would publish the land that it owns and put it to each local village or town where these dwellings could be built. If there is a more suitable site privately owned a compulsory purchase order could be looked at. These high quality builds would be offered initially to local people including young adults and the elderly on a low rent basis.

Looking at the current costs of housing benefit £25b and rising. This could all be financed by our Government borrowing at 0.5% and achieving 5% return and splitting the return with the councils. When you take into account the extra council tax generated as well, the benefits are turned on its head. Every one benefits except the banks and house builders.

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