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Labour calls for £10bn housing boost

Shadow chancellor Ed Balls has called on the coalition government to take forthright action to tackle the UK's ongoing housing crisis, with a growing need for major investments both in infrastructure and the delivery of new homes.

As a result, he has called for a new £10 billion injection of funding to set up a new national framework for housing, incorporating a targeted programme to build upwards of 400,000 homes across the country annually and to deliver thousands of new jobs.

Mr Balls commented: "With thousands of construction workers out of work and interest rates at record lows, there is a growing consensus that investing now in improving our infrastructure, particularly housing, would give an immediate boost to the economy, encourage more private sector investment, and give us a long-term return as we strengthen our economy for the future."

His announcement follows the recent statement from the International Monetary Fund, which called for an easing of austerity in the UK and a greater focus on boosting the economy through large-scale projects.

Furthermore, Mr Balls therefore stated that should the entire infrastructure boost be implemented within the next two years, it would help to create around 600,000 new construction jobs, including up to 10,000 apprentice places - further helping to safeguard the long-term viability of the UK building sector.

The shadow chancellor's statement follows the publication of new data from the Home Builders Federation, which highlighted an increase in the number of successful planning permission applications across the UK during the first three months of the year.

According to the organisation's figures, permissions rose by 10.5 per cent in the quarter in comparison to the same time last year, with 40,633 dwelling permissions granted.

However, the report added that this level of delivery, while improving, still remains below the 55,000 new homes per quarter that the government has revealed is necessary to tackle the country's housing shortage. 

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