Wednesday, 01 April 2015

Vince Cable called on PM to invest in housing

Business secretary Vince Cable sent a private letter to the prime minister calling for increased support for housing, it has emerged.

In the leaked letter published by the BBC yesterday Vince Cable argues that ‘galvanising the housing construction market would have a much wider economic impact in stimulating innovation and growth’.

He adds: ‘There is a particular problem with financing: the housing associations, which could drive recovery, are unable to mobilise funds on any scale.’

Mr Cable says the government should show the same commitment to ‘getting housing moving as is beginning to happen for infrastructure’.

Infrastructure is a key part of the government’s plans for driving economic growth, with £500 million set aside for stalled schemes through the growing places fund.

Mr Cable’s letter was sent in February to prime minister David Cameron and deputy prime minister Nick Clegg. It sets out the business secretary’s views on ‘industry policy’, and argues the government is currently lacking ‘a compelling vision of where the country is heading beyond sorting out the fiscal mess’.

Mr Cable’s comments on housing were welcomed by the National Housing Federation.

Chief executive David Orr said: ‘A public investment of £1 billion - matched by £10 billion from housing associations - would build 66,000 new homes and create around 100,000 jobs in the construction industry, plus many more in the wider supply chain.

‘It would also save the government nearly £400 million in benefit payments and boost national economic activity by £15 billion. Few other sectors can offer this potential with such short lead-in times and the prospect of so much of the benefit being retained domestically.’

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