The road home

If the government can change the public borrowing rules for roads, why not for council housing?

The papers this morning (see here and here) have been briefed that the government growth package to be launched when parliament returns next month will include not just a housebuilding stimulus but a radical new plan to boost road building.

Read the rest of this post at Inside Edge, my blog for Inside Housing


No answer

If the case for a housing stimulus was already unanswerable, today’s confirmation of the depth of the recession makes the lack of one unfathomable.

It’s not just the 0.7 per cent fall in GDP in the second quarter or the 0.3 per cent falls in the two previous quarters or that this is the first double dip recession since the 1930s. It’s not even the fact that the construction industry’s 5.2 per cent fall in output between April and June and 4.9 per cent in the first quarter is one of the major reasons why it happened.

Read the rest of this post at Inside Edge, my blog for Inside Housing


QED

As the Bank of England unleashes another £50 billion into the economy is it time at last to use quantitative easing in a way that will boost the economy and tackle the housing crisis at the same time?

I’ve made the case for QE for housing for several months now (see here, here and here) and it’s been made in much more detail by my fellow blogger Brian Green of Brickonomics here, here and here.

In essence, the idea is that the government should set up a not-for-profit public interest company with a remit to fund house building. The Bank of England would use £50 billion of housing QE to buy bonds in the company to fund the construction of homes and associated infrastructure and the bonds would be repaid from the rental and eventual sale of the homes.

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Chink of light

A small dip in the GDP and suddenly there is an opportunity to put housing back on the agenda.

It was only -0.2 per cent but yesterday’s figures confirm that the economy is in a double dip recession for the first time since the 1970s in a downturn that has already gone on longer than the one in the 1930s.

Read more at Inside Edge, my blog for Inside Housing.


If you’re in a hole, start digging

So we’re in a double-dip recession and construction is to blame.

You don’t have to be part of the construction lobby or a Keynesian or even Ed Balls to think that something is badly wrong here. The coalition’s strategy of cutting public spending to reduce the deficit to pacify the markets to keep interest rates low to produce a private sector-led recovery is not working and it is way past time for Plan B.

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