Unite the Union

Unite the Union

October 03, 2007 09:03 ET

Money for New Council Housing Must Be Made Available in the Public Sector Settlement Says Unite

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM--(Marketwire - Oct. 3, 2007) -

Attention: Newsdesks, Political, Public Sector, Housing and Social Affairs Correspondents Editors

Local authorities must be given the ability to build and maintain council housing as part of the Comprehensive Spending Review (CSR) say Unite.

In response to the Department for Communities and Local Government's Green Paper, 'Homes for the future: more affordable, more sustainable', and in anticipation of the CSR announcement, Unite says that allowing local authorities to build, improve and maintain council housing stock and estates is critical to solving the housing crisis. Unite also says that the so-called 'fourth option' is vital in terms of accountability and allowing tenants the choice of having their local authority as landlord.

Unite's response is critical of the Green Paper's failure to acknowledge the consequences of transferring housing away from local authorities and the assertion that councils will only be able to build homes "where it offers better value for money than other options."

Gail Cartmail, Unite's Assistant General Secretary and Head of the Public Sector, said:

"The private and social markets have failed to provide an adequate supply of affordable housing. Key worker schemes are frequently priced out of the reach of the very workers they are intended for and the consequences of transferring housing away from local authorities have not been considered.

"Unite welcomes the proposals to let councils build their own homes but we want clarification around the qualification that this only applies to local authorities that can demonstrate "better value" than alternatives.

"There seems to be a bias against council self-building in the Green Paper which is difficult to understand given the massive shortage in affordable housing. Surely good local authorities that have huge homelessness problems should be able to build new council homes and invest in maintaining their current stocks and estates."

Unite has also called for changes to the planning system that introduces deadlines by which private developers have to complete their building and make homes available to prevent the cost of homes being set at artificially high levels and for the Empty Homes Agency to be given extra powers.

Contact Information

  • Catherine Bithell
    Unite press office
    020 7 420 8909 or 07958 473 224