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Campaign group calls for huge house-building programme

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A new pressure group is urging the government to help the struggling construction sector by building 100,000 new social homes over the next two years

The 2020 Group is chaired by the prime minister’s former housing advisor Kate Barker and comprises the Local Government Association, National Housing Federation, housing charity Shelter, and the TUC.

The group’s estimates suggest the credit crunch will lead to 450,000 job losses in the construction industry between 2008 and 2010 but that a timely investment programme could save 30,000 jobs. Besides helping the economy as a whole through higher taxation revenues, it would ease the ever-growing queue for council housing and help prevent a return to ‘unsustainable house price inflation’.

‘Support for housing today offers excellent value in terms of sustaining economic activity, and reduces the risk of a very severe loss of capacity in the housing and related industries,’ said Barker. ‘There is real concern that the present fall in homebuilding is sowing the seeds of the next [price] boom.’

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