Council-home building across the country has been given a boost with a further £122 million allocated to the programme by housing minister John Healey
It is understood that 73 local authorities will benefit from the cash, with the grants also being matched by councils - taking the public investment in 4,000 new homes to more than £500 million.
Last year plans to give local authorities the power to develop hundreds of thousands of council houses were hailed as a potential lifeline for the UK’s struggling architecture profession (AJonline 05.02.09).
Councils benefiting from the funding will also be expected to offer apprenticeships and employ local job recruitment schemes - with officials claiming the programme would create 7,500 jobs and about 100 new apprenticeship places.
On a visit to the Thames View Estate in Barking, east London, Mr Healey said: ‘Councils have shown they’re ready and willing to build new homes, so I’m ready to back them.
‘This year’s Government spending for affordable housing will be the largest for at least two decades. More affordable homes for rent are needed in every part of the country.
‘We’re using the power of public investment to help economic growth by building the homes we need and creating jobs and skills for the future.’
Responding to today’s news, Shadow Housing Minister, Grant Shapps said: ‘Yet another re-announcement by the Government doesn’t avoid the stark truth - they have utterly failed to build the homes this country needs. In terms of social housing they have built fewer homes than under either of the two previous Conservative Governments. With the social housing waiting list soaring to a huge 1.8 million families, their top-down, Whitehall-driven targets have failed the most vulnerable people in our society.’