Mayoral candidates urged to focus on new homes in west England

April 28, 2017 / Isla MacFarlane
Mayoral candidates urged to focus on new homes in west England

The National Housing Federation (NHF) and the Home Builders Federation (HBF) have joined forces to call on the West of England’s first-ever Mayor to commit to tackling the housing crisis in the region.

The trade bodies will publish a joint manifesto setting out how the new mayor can work with the housing sector to get vital homes built for people living across the West of England.

They will join local businesses, including housing associations and the Bristol Junior Chamber of Commerce, on Bristol’s College Green at 2pm today to launch their offer to candidates and push housing to the top of the political agenda ahead of the mayoral election on Thursday 4 May.

The seven-point manifesto outlines how planning for at least 150,000 more new homes in the West of England region over the next 20 years can provide vital affordable housing, create jobs and boost the economy.

The NHF and HBF are inviting each mayoral candidate to sign up to the manifesto and commit to working with the sector to end the housing crisis.

The new mayor will hold important powers across Bristol, Bath & North East Somerset and South Gloucestershire – areas which form the new West of England Combined Authority.

As such, he or she will be uniquely placed to work with the West of England Combined Authority leaders, and with leaders in North Somerset, to tackle the housing crisis in the region.

Katie Teasdale, External Affairs Manager at the National Housing Federation, said, “Hundreds of thousands of people are rightly proud to call the West of England their home. But with house prices rising faster than local wages, affordable housing is simply beyond the reach of far too many.

“Strategic thinking will be vital in tackling the housing crisis, and the new mayor has a critical role to play in ensuring everyone in the West of England Combined Authority has access to good quality and genuinely affordable housing.

“Housing associations want to work with the new mayor to not only boost the supply of vital new housing, but also attract new workers to the region and allow the local economy to grow.”

James Stevens, Director for London and the devolved cities at the Home Builders Federation, said, “Like most other areas of the UK, the West of England is facing an acute housing crisis. The new mayor will be in a powerful positon to influence housing policy in the coming years and it is key that they work closely with all parties to deliver solutions.

“The house building industry is committed to building more desperately needed homes but needs politicians to create the policy framework that will allow it to do so.

“Delivering the homes the area needs will help address acute social needs but also provide a huge boost to the local economies.”

The need for affordable housing in the West of England has never been greater, with the average house price now over 10 times the typical regional salary. Even the cheapest homes are now 7.3 times the lowest household incomes.

PHOTO CREDIT: Adrian Pingstone

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