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Unlock private investment to get councils building, says Elphicke & House report

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Unlock private investment to get councils building, says Elphicke & House report

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Published by Max Salsbury for 24dash.com in Housing and also in Local Government

Unlock private investment to get councils building, says Elphicke & House report Unlock private investment to get councils building, says Elphicke & House report

With increasing demands on councils to build more homes, an interim report by Natalie Elphicke and Keith House says they should look to the private sector.

The Department for Communities and Local Government said the independent review highlights how councils are already levering private finance to help deliver the homes their communities need – and how more councils could follow in their footsteps.

At the end of January, the government announced that Elphicke and the appropriately named House would lead an independent review into the role that councils can play in boosting housing supply. The reviewers will report jointly to the CLG secretary of state and the chief secretary to the treasury by the end of 2014.

Elphicke said: "In this next stage of the review we will focus on how councils can access and harness private finance. In particular, strengthening the relationship between councils, industry experts, business and private finance could help councils to realise their housing ambitions and support their communities."

House said: "The response to our call to evidence has been excellent and councils across the country are showing how they are thinking more innovatively and ambitiously to put housing on the centre stage. The next stage of the review will examine the challenges the local authorities have said can temper their ambitions and look at the ways that these can be overcome."

Elphicke and House also highlight the need for greater transparency by councils to lead to more housebuilding. This includes ensuring people in the local area can see the wider benefits to the community of new homes and how they meet assessed local housing need, but also greater transparency over the land and assets available for housebuilding – including council land.

Housing Minister Brandon Lewis said the report "clearly shows there’s untapped potential out there for councils to secure private investment in their plans and deliver the homes their communities want".

Elphicke is chair of Million Homes, Million Lives which works with councils and housing associations for more better-quality affordable housing in the right places. House is a board member of the Homes and Communities Agency, and also leader of Eastleigh Borough Council and deputy chair of the Local Government Association environment and housing Board.

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