Housing and the levelling up agenda
The Chamber and Homes for the North held a roundtable with a range of businesses and organisations across the North to discuss the role of housing in the North East’s economic recovery.
Nigel Wilson, Chair of Homes for the North and the Chief Executive of Gentoo Group opened the roundtable highlighting the need for clarity from Government on what the levelling up agenda is and a ten-year long-term strategy to help achieve this. We need to bring existing homes in the region up to standard as well as building new affordable homes. Decarbonisation and economic regeneration are both key priorities for the housing sector but there needs to be adequate funding from Government in order to reach these goals.
Key points from the discussion included the need for organisations and businesses to collaborate to put out a joint- message to Government on the role of housing in the economic recovery and achieving the UK’s net zero targets.
The importance of ensuring that Government policies such as standard methodology around allocating housing and the Treasury’s Green Book reflect the levelling up agenda was also highlighted. Policy needs to take into account economic potential and allocate fair infrastrucutre funding and housing numbers to the North East.
Attendees also discussed the changing role of town and city centres after the pandemic with the potential of more people living in towns and cities and the implications of this for our social infrastrucutre along with possible changes to where people are based due to flexible working.
Funding for local authorities and combined authorities was also highlighted as key to ensure the have the capacity to help coordinate work on improving the quality of housing in the region. Funding needs to be fairly allocated rather than competition based and combined authorities need to have devolved powers to help deliver on housing and regeneration in their area.
The decarbonisation of housing was seen as a key opportunity for the region to create jobs as part of a green recovery. There needs to be a long-term plan on how to decarbonise housing and funding from Government to ensure social housing can start this process.