Public money for public housing

Councils need support to rebuild their capacity to meet the country’s housing needs

Photo: Marcus Rose

Councils across the UK need “the ability to rebuild their depleted housing development workforce” and their housing stock, UNISON’s local government conference declared this morning.

The sector has faced a borrowing cap which prevented local government directly meeting the housing needs of its citizens since the Thatcher government of the 1980s. And although the cap has now been lifted, it is now decades since councils had the experience and workforce which provided much of the hundreds of thousands of new homes the country needs each year.

Supporting the call by conference, Tower Hamlets delegate Mark Lancaster (pictured) told delegates there has been “a massive withdrawal of public finance”.

“We need a government that doesn’t privilege the private sector, so that councils can build,” he said.

Or as service group executive speaker Paul Holmes put it: “We need public housing for people who live in a public society, and that’s where public money should go.”