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Coalition of housing associations launches housebuilding manifesto

The Building for the Future: Levelling up the South West manifesto on the screen of a tablet

The Homes for the South West (H4SW) group of housing associations which includes GreenSquareAccord, is calling for £1 billion from Government to almost double their new housing output and boost the region’s post-COVID recovery.

In its manifesto launched today, Building for the Future: Levelling up the South West’s economy with quality, affordable & sustainable housing, the coalition sets out a commitment to a £4 billion programme that will deliver 25,000 homes over the next 5 years. The manifesto also includes a pledge to increase this by another 20,000 homes if Government can provide additional support.

Housebuilding will be critical to the success of the South West’s recovery from COVID-19 and addressing longstanding inequalities according to the coalition. The region’s job market has been one of the worst hit by the pandemic, highlighting a reliance on low-wage sectors including tourism and hospitality, and this sits alongside prohibitively high house prices in many areas.

An estimated 42,000 new homes are required per year in the South West in order to meet housing need, of which 15,000 need to be affordable housing. In addition to financial support, H4SW is calling on the Government to initiate public sector land reform and offer greater flexibility on tenure. These measures would prevent developers ‘land-banking’, enable faster delivery of new public housing that meets local residents’ need, and benefit the economy.

Delivery of the coalition’s latest commitment to 25,000 new homes will support the employment of approximately 77,500 people and provide 850 apprentice, graduate or trainee roles. An additional £1bn from Government will allow the group to attract a further £3bn private financing, expanding their programme and increasing local employment opportunities across the region.

Homes for the South West Chair Victor da Cunha said: “Good quality, sustainable, housing that people can afford to live in is absolutely essential to the growth of economic and employment opportunities. That’s why we need to put housing at the heart of our post-COVID recovery in the South West. Homes for the South West members have the ambition and the capacity to help Build Back Better and so we’re asking Government to help us go further faster. This will not only support those hardest hit by the pandemic, but also help unlock the untapped potential of our region for the benefit of local people and the local economy.”

Ruth Cooke, Chief Executive Officer at GreenSquareAccord, said: “We’re proud to be working alongside our Homes for the South West partners to present this manifesto which sets out our combined new homes delivery programme – and shows how much more we could do to meet housing need with additional support from Government. Our focus is on building better lives through investing in local communities and providing much needed affordable homes that are well designed and sustainable. Our LoCal Homes off-site manufacturing facility supports the delivery of low carbon housing solutions for both GreenSquareAccord and other housing providers.”

The coalition’s calls for Government support have attracted cross-party support from MPs with constituencies in the region.

The full manifesto from H4SW can be viewed here: