Rwanda secures US $80m to construct vocational schools

The government of Rwanda has secured a whopping US $80m from the Indian Export and Import Bank (EXIM bank) to construct 10 specialized Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) schools across the country.

Jonah Kwikiriza, the Acting Coordinator of the Single Project Implementation Unit at Workforce Development Authority (WDA) confirmed the reports and said they are finalizing the plans with the government to break ground for the construction.

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According to the Acting Coordinator, the development is part of an effort to have at least 60% of students who complete ordinary level of high school join vocational education. The target had previously been set for 2018, but it was later revised to 2024 due to lack of enough infrastructure and teaching staff among other constraints.

Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) schools

He further affirmed that WDA, have already mapped out where the facilities will be built  based on different criteria among which included access to water sources, electricity, road infrastructure.

The development project which will be built 10 districts will o involves construction of four new incubation centres. WDA  have organised three different trades (combinations) per school whereby each trade will have two different streams, and every stream will accommodate a minimum 30 students, meaning at least 180 students per school with standard practical workshops.

“Districts have different market demands and raw materials, so it was a better way to come up with an initiative which has an impact on society using hands-on skills. Under this project, we shall let the teachers, together with all officials concerned, shortlist the disciplines to be particularly taught in their areas and we will compare with the priority centres and decide,” said Kwikiriza.

Currently, there are 5,200 teachers in vocational schools across the country and 2,026 have completed specialized training in different disciplines.

Source: Construction review online

Worst building disasters in Bangladesh

Fires and building collapses are frequent in the country, particularly in the massive garment industry.

Dozens of people were killed in Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh, on Thursday in a blaze that ripped through apartment buildings where chemicals were stored.

Fires and building collapses are common in the country – particularly in the multibillion-dollar garment industry – where building regulations are lax and volatile chemicals are often improperly kept.

Here are some of the worst incidents in Bangladesh.

Rana Plaza collapse

At least 1,130 people died when Dhaka’s Rana Plaza nine-storey factory complex collapsed in April 2013 – one of the world’s worst industrial tragedies.

Another 2,000 people were injured in the disaster, which highlighted the failure of many top Western fashion brands to protect workers in the poor developing countries where their goods are manufactured.

In 2016, a court ordered 38 people, including owner Sohel Rana, to face trial for murder for falsely certifying the factory complex as safe. Proceedings have dragged on, however, and prosecutors say a verdict could take five more years.

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Dhaka chemical fire

Bangladesh’s deadliest industrial blaze was in June 2010, when 117 people died in a fire that ripped through one of Dhaka’s most densely populated areas.

The fire – fuelled by a chemical warehouse – destroyed several multi-storey apartment buildings and gutted a string of small shops.

Garment factory blaze

A fire swept through a nine-storey garment factory near Dhaka in November 2012, killing 111 workers. An investigation later found it was caused by sabotage and that plant managers had prevented victims from escaping.

“I broke open an exhaust fan in the second floor and jumped to the roof of a shed next to the factory,” said one survivor. “I broke my hand but survived somehow.”

Packaging factory fire

A fire triggered by a boiler explosion tore through a packaging factory north of the capital in September 2016, killing 24 people.

The blaze is thought to have spread quickly because of chemicals stored on the ground floor.

Gap factory fire

A blaze engulfed a multistorey factory outside Dhaka that made clothes for the high-street retailer Gap in December 2010. At least 27 people died in the fire and more than 100 were injured.

Many of the factory workers had left the building for lunch at the time, but witnesses described seeing dozens of trapped workers jumping from the 10th floor of the building to escape.

Boiler explosion

An industrial boiler exploded at a factory, killing 13 people and causing part of the six-storey building to collapse, in July 2017.

Most of the plant’s 5,000 workers were off for the Eid holidays when the boiler exploded during maintenance work.


Lagos Govt Tasks Block Moulders On Standards

The Lagos State Government has asked members of the National Association of Block Moulders of Nigeria (NABMON) to comply with requirements stipulated by the National Industrial Standard under the Standard Organisation of Nigeria, in order to tackle menace of building collapse.

The acting General Manager of Lagos State Materials Testing Laboratory (LSMTL) Olalekan Ajani, said this at a stakeholders’ meeting with the leadership of NABMON in the Alimosho area of the state.

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He said, “The essence of this meeting with NABMON is in line with the stance of the state government on zero tolerance for building collapse.

“We identified blocks as essential components in construction which, if not professionally moulded, could cause building collapse and others,” the acting GM said.

He listed what the agency look out for in a block to include the size, strength, as well as methodology used for the mix ratio.

Ajani said his visit to some block moulding factories in the Alimosho area had shown that efforts were being made by some block moulders to meet up with the established standard.

“So far, the degree of compliance is encouraging, but we all must make efforts to ensure that the present standard is surpassed,” he said.

The National President of NABMON, Mr Rasheed Adebowale, said the practise of hiring quarks to mould blocks must be stopped as it could not guarantee quality.

The state Chairman NABMON, Mr Rasheed Aleshinloye, urged more sensitisation so that members of the public would be enlightened on the dangers inherent in patronising unapproved block moulding factories.

India: A look at role of international collaborations in real estate sector

With a population of roughly 1.3 billion people, it comes as no surprise that housing continues to be a critical need in India. The increased level of urbanisation, in recent years, has also added to this, with the demand for housing growing substantially, every year.

Globalisation has further made it possible for developers to collaborate with renowned international brands to add value to the lifestyle that they offer.

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The influx of foreign developers of repute who have taken an interest in India’s real estate sector has presented domestic developers with a symbiotic opportunity for growth, aided by the unrestricted boundaries for capital flow and investments.

On the other hand, India’s high demand for housing presents foreign developers with the opportunity of penetrating domestic markets through partnerships with local brands, while adding an entirely new and promising consumer segment to their domain.

The amendments and changes made in recent years to the laws and regulations governing foreign alliances and agreements in the sector, like the enactment of the Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act, have further proved to be a boon for it.

As a result, the Indian construction development sector has received Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) equity inflows to the amount of $24.87 billion, between April 2000 and June 2018, according to the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP).

The approval of the Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) platform by the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) will also allow for all kinds of foreign investments in the Indian real estate market, creating an opportunity worth Rs 1.25 trillion ($19.65 billion) in the years to come.

As per estimates, the sector is, in fact, expected to reach a market size of $1 trillion by 2030 from $120 billion in 2017, contributing as much as 13 per cent of the country’s GDP by 2025.

This highlights the importance of international collaborations in the future of the Indian real estate sector, along with revamped construction methods, accounting and management systems, and unique offerings, to meet the international standards and unique expectations of the evolving Indian consumer.

Indian developers have also been impacted by the changes taking place in the global real estate market, which have had repercussions on the local market. The growing amount of wealth in the hands of consumers has led to a rapid evolution in the taste and choices of luxury of the consumer base, enveloping the amenities available, besides the houses themselves.

To meet these varied demands, Indian real estate developers have begun collaborating with several global brands. As a result, many modern housing projects boast of the finest accouterments, whether it’s a Baccarat chandelier, graphic wall artwork, bathroom fittings, or Italian floorings.

RERA and GST has brought with it an improved level of transparency, discipline, and order and has also helped in the elimination of double taxation, which hurt the sector considerably.

This marked rise in Indo-foreign collaborations has also been fostered by several other important factors, which have helped developers enter into real estate deals with a global client base in their hometown or around the world. These include:


    • Improvement in networked global communication


    • Rising demand for products, services, and housing due to population growth


    • Unrestricted boundaries for capital flow and investment


    • Reforms in laws and regulations for forming alliances and agreements


The Digital India initiative of the Indian government has helped bring about a marked increase in internet connectivity all across the country, helping domestic developers engage with the global market intricately. Technological advancements made in the sector have made collaborations easier and more seamless, leading to a confluence of advanced techniques and methods of construction that has significantly helped improve the quality of construction, costs incurred, and offerings available.


Amid inadequate infrastructure, states pump N251bn into non-viable airports

Bad roads, poor healthcare services, collapsing schools, inadequate housing and a lack of municipal services like waste collection or pipe-borne water have not deterred most Nigerian states from embarking on white elephant airport projects.

Apart from the 22 airports built by the Federal Government through the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), many state governments are building such facilities, usually as a status symbol.

At the last count, 13 states have spent or propose to spend a total of N251 billion on establishing largely non-viable airports.

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For instance, Bayelsa State spent N60 billion, Akwa Ibom (N20 billion), Delta and Jigawa (N17 billion each), and Bauchi and Kebbi spent N15 billion each on airport projects which stakeholders say have done little or nothing to improve their economies.

Also, Ogun, Ekiti, Abia, and Nasarawa States have proposed to spend N20 billion each in building and completing new international or cargo airports, while Osun has proposed N15.5 billion and Zamfara has proposed N12 billion for a similar project.

Anambra State in South Eastern Nigeria also plans a $2 billion (N720bn) cargo airport. However, the state government says a private company, Elite International Investments, will provide all funds under a build, operate, manage and transfer agreement.

Bayelsa State is the latest subnational entity to gleefully launch an airport.
Last week, Seriake Dickson, Bayelsa State governor, opened the Bayelsa International Airport, which he said gulped N60 billion.

Aviation analysts have said huge investments such as this are a misallocation of public resources and should have been invested in basic infrastructure such as roads, schools, housing and health care, amongst others.

Research checks show that up till now, the government of Bayelsa State has failed to provide basic housing and potable water for its communities, so residents rely on personal boreholes or water vendors.

An average borehole and tank stand, will cost between N200,000 and N250,000. Bayelsa State will require about 600 boreholes to cater for a good number of its citizens. Therefore, it will require between N120 million and N150 million to provide potable water for communities in Bayelsa.

If the N60 billion was channelled to housing, the government can provide a minimum of 12,000 low-cost housing units for the citizens of Bayelsa at the rate of N5 million per units. This, to a reasonable extent, will have taken care of housing challenges in the state.

“Potable water, health care and housing are the basic challenges in Bayelsa State. The people of Bayelsa are not pleased that the government can invest such huge sum to the construction of an airport, which is reserved for the few rich people in the state,” Essien Bassey, a resident in Bayelsa, told newsmen.

Experts argue that the viability of these multi-billion naira projects remains questionable, considering passenger and aircraft traffic originating and terminating from them.

John Ojikutu, aviation security consultant and secretary-general of the Aviation Safety Round Table Initiative (ASRTI), said that the first thing to look at before constructing any airport is the passenger traffic around the airports that surround the prospective airport.
Ojikutu further explained that Osubi airstrip in Warri and Port Harcourt International Airport, which are around Bayelsa, do not generate as much traffic when compared to Lagos and Abuja airports.

“Bayelsa does not require an international airport because passenger traffic at Port Harcourt airport is not up to 1.5 million annually and that of Osubi is about 500. Passenger traffic between Rivers, Bayelsa and part of Delta annually is in the region of 2 million, so why waste resources that should have been channelled to providing health care and water, which are missing in Bayelsa?” Ojikutu said.

“Anambra State is also building an airport. Anambra is close to Asaba and Enugu, which both process less than 2 million passengers annually. These airports have no benefit rather than political ego. Total air traffic passengers across all airports in Nigeria are less than 16 million. Johannesburg airport alone manages 22 million passengers. Lagos alone barely takes 10 million passengers, followed by Abuja. Other airports are just complementary,” he argued.

The states, however, argue that the existence of such facilities in their domains would help to stimulate socio-economic activities. They believe airports would shore up business activities and attract investments, adding that the existence of airports will enhance the creation of hubs to facilitate export of agricultural produce from the hinterlands to urban centres.

But Tayo Ojuri, an aviation consultant and CEO, Aglow Aviation Support Services, said although Bayelsa has a lot of opportunities for tourism and oil and gas businesses to thrive, what matters is how the airport is put to use.

“After investing so much in the construction of an airport, it will be a shame not to put the facilities to use as a result of low passenger traffic in and out of the airport,” Ojuri said.

The Asaba airport, for instance, has not been put to optimal use. A few airlines, including Arik Air, Aero and Overland Airways, were flying into the airport before it was downgraded by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA).

The Akwa Ibom Airport in Uyo was completed a few years ago. The airport has relatively been unviable as only a few airlines, including Arik Air, and now Ibom Air, operate flights into it. The maintenance repair centre proposed for the Uyo airport has not been achieved.

In the Northwest, the Dutse airport in Jigawa, built by the administration of former Governor Sule Lamido for N15.5 billion, remains one of the nonviable terminals in the country. Its closeness to Yobe, Bauchi and Kano States has not attracted the envisaged patronage for the new airport which is only serviced by Overland Airways.

With skeletal flight services between Abuja and Dutse, the state capital, the dream of facilitating agro-allied exports from the airport remains largely a pipe one.

AfDB begins electricity cooperative feasibility studies in Nigeria and Ethiopia

The African Development Bank has kicked off a feasibility study to explore the potential of electricity cooperative business models in Nigeria and Ethiopia. The effort is part of the Bank’s goal of achieving universal electricity access across Africa by 2025. Currently, power shortages diminish the region’s GDP growth by 2-4% per year, holding back job creation and poverty reduction efforts.

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The study, funded by the South-South Cooperation Trust Fund, will be conducted by the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) International over three months. NRECA will consider regulatory, legal, technical and socio-economic factors that impact the creation of electric cooperatives in the two nations.

Electricity cooperatives are tax-exempt businesses set up and owned by the consumers who benefit from the services provided in generation, transmission and/or distribution. They are used in many parts of the world to provide last mile connections to rural areas through grid extensions and cooperative enterprises. Where successful, they also improve rural electrification, while creating sustainable businesses.

Speaking at the kick-off meeting, Batchi Baldeh, the Bank’s Director of Power Systems Development, thanked the South-South Cooperation Trust Fund for financing the initiative. “This study is timely and aligned with the Bank’s New Deal for Energy in Africa. We look forward to working with NRECA International to execute the study, and to leverage its extensive experience in electricity cooperative business models to pave the way for the implementation of transformational projects across Africa” he said.

Underscoring the importance of Government cooperation and commitment, he added that the cooperatives rely on strong partnerships among governments, rural/local communities and development partners for implementation and success. “We selected Nigeria and Ethiopia following dialogue with their respective ministers of energy during the Bank’s Africa Energy Market Place held in July 2018, where they expressed their governments’ commitment to improve rural access through established models. We rely on this cooperation to explore this innovative model of delivering our High 5 to light up and power Africa”, said Baldeh

Findings of the study will be delivered in May this year. They will inform the viability of plans to pilot the model in the selected countries.


Nigerian elections: Is poverty getting worse?

Nigeria is Africa’s largest economy and the continent’s biggest oil producer.

But it is a country where more than half the population lives in poverty, and 60% of the urban population cannot afford the cheapest house.

There are also some very rich Nigerians indeed and the gap between rich and poor is all too clear to see in the country’s largest cities.

Ahead of Nigeria’s elections on 23 February, BBC Reality Check examines whether the poor are getting poorer and if the wealth gap is getting wider.

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Competing claims

The government argues that it has combated poverty and blames past governments for mismanaging the oil industry and the economy.

“It is not that poverty has reduced considerably, no. I am saying that what has happened now is that we are dealing with the issue of poverty,” said Vice-President Prof Yemi Osinbajo.

Prof Osinbajo is the running mate for incumbent president, Muhammadu Buhari.

Mr Buhari’s principal opponent in the election, Atiku Abubakar, says Nigeria’s economy has never been in a worse state than it is now.

“The most important question in this election is: are you better off than you were four years ago, are you richer or poorer?”

An economy in trouble

The Nigerian economy has only recently shown signs of recovery after a period of recession that ended in 2017.

The unemployment rate provided by the government’s National Bureau of Statistics is more than 20%.

Here’s another key statistic – about 60% of the population lives in absolute poverty. – measured by the number who can afford only the bare essentials of shelter, food and clothing.

This figure is from a household poverty survey released by the government in 2012.

There is a frustrating lack of more recent data available, although a revised poverty survey is currently under way.

However, experts see little sign that the situation for the poorest has improved significantly.

“With increase in population and continuing lack of jobs, it is evident that the gulf between the haves and the have nots will continue to widen in the future,” said Bongo Adi, an economist at the Lagos Business School.

Poverty is ‘staring us in the face’

There’s certainly a widespread perception that inequality is getting worse.

“Nigeria has a long history of mismanagement, corruption and disregard for due process” that has contributed to the high number of people living in poverty, says Abdulazeez Musa, Oxfam’s Nigeria-based analyst.

As for the gap between rich and poor, Nigerian economist Bismarck Rewane estimates that only 5% of the population controls roughly about 40% of Nigeria’s wealth.

Poverty-reduction policies do exist, he says, but they are not backed up by the political will or the good governance to implement them.

“Vested interest is far in excess of national interest,” he says.

Poverty rates are higher in northern states than they are in parts of the south.

Sokoto State in the far north-west of the country has the highest level of poverty at 81% while the figure for the south-western state of Lagos is 34%.

A widely used measure of inequality that rates the distribution of income in a society is known as the Gini scale – for which the higher the number, the greater the inequality.

Nigeria’s rate rose 15% between 2004 and 2010, the latest year for which the data is available.

Poverty is “staring us in the face”, says Omolara Adesanya, a candidate for governor of Lagos state.

Housing as a measure of poverty

About half of Nigeria’s population lives in cities, but the divide between the poor and the rich has created a paradox – many newly built houses in the wealthier areas of Lagos are empty, while overcrowding is a major issue in many poorer areas.

The UN estimates that 69% of urban residents in the country live in slum conditions, with the housing shortfall of close to 18 million units.

Building or buying a house is expensive. To construct a three-bedroom house costs $50,000 (£38,500) compared with $36,000 in South Africa and $26,000 in India, according to the World Bank.

The Centre for Affordable Housing Finance in Africa says a standard three-bedroom, middle-income apartment in urban locations in Nigeria currently costs $5,000 a year to rent or $100,000 to buy.

Only about 40% of urban households can afford the cheapest newly-built house ($16,351).

Poverty or inequality?

Although there is a general recognition that Nigeria is highly unequal, it is hard to quantify inequality because of the lack of up-to-date data, says economist Zuhumnan Dapel.

But there is a wider point about the study of inequality, he says. Those in developing economies care less about income inequality than they do about living in poverty.

“Whether their people are living below the poverty line., the main aim is getting people out of poverty,” he says.

And this is where Nigeria faces its greatest challenge.

exhibitAccording to the World Bank, Nigeria is now the country with the most poor people in the world, overtaking India.

The Bank is is cautious over the reliability of the data, but it does suggest the immense scale of the problem the country is facing – whoever wins the forthcoming elections.

South Africa Budget 2019: Mixed bag for home owners, say property experts

While transfer duty and capital gains tax have remained unchanged, the introduction of a pilot subsidy programme for first-time buyers is encouraging, says Herschel Jawitz, CEO of Jawitz Properties.

“While consumers will continue to face financial pressures as a result of the lack of tax relief, there should be no impact on an already subdued residential market,” said Jawitz.

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Dr Andrew Golding, chief executive of the Pam Golding Property group, echoed this view, saying funding for the upgrading of informal settlements, as well as the pilot project with R950m over three years to help first-time home buyers, made for welcome news.

However, he noted, land expropriation was yet to be finalised and clarified.

Urban development

He also pointed out that Finance Minister Tito Mboweni had said there was a need to respond to rapid urbanisation by shifting from “horizontal” development to “vertical” development (building “upwards”) as part of an integrated development plan.

“This would suggest that government incentives may reinforce the shift towards the construction of more sectional title homes – a trend already evident in many of the country’s major metro housing markets,” commented Golding.

Like Jawitz, he would have liked to see a reduction in transfer duties, which he believes would have stimulated property transactions across the board.

“We also hoped for budget policies and incentives to promote eco-friendly building incentives, and budget incentives to enable quick and cost-effective building solutions to stimulate the lower end of the market,” said Golding.

Gerhard Kotzé, MD of the RealNet estate agency group, agrees that SA can look forward to many more high-rise housing developments in and around its major metros as part of government’s integrated strategy to prepare for the future, and provide affordable accommodation for a rapidly urbanising population.

Growth spurt ahead

Mike Greeff, CEO of Greeff Christies International Real Estate, believes the property industry can expect to see significant growth as first-time homeowners will take full advantage of the grant announced.

Dr Christoph Nieuwoudt, CEO of FNB Consumer, said while government has made some inroads addressing the demand for affordable housing, the supply of well-located, zoned and serviced land, with suitable top structures and acceptable amenities, continues to lag behind the fast-growing demand.

Additionally, he says, there is lingering lack of access to a fully functional mortgage market for low income earners, with “prohibitive” home loan credit rating criteria.

There are also massive backlogs in many deeds transfer offices, he says. These factors are lingering barriers to property ownership as a stepping stone to poverty alleviation, he argues.

In the view of regional director and CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa, Adrian Goslett, more could have been done in Budget 2019 to stimulate the property market.

Like Jawitz, he was disappointed by the lack of relief measures. “There were no mentions of any changes in transfer duty rates and capital gains tax – a drop in these figures would have translated into higher returns for property investors which could have stimulated the market and encouraged economic growth,” said Goslett.


Growing Urbanization and Population to Drive Global Building and Construction Plastics Market-Report

The flourishing of construction plastics in the developing and developed region is likely to support growth of the global building and construction plastics market. The growing disposable income and changing lifestyle of the population in developing regions is expected to fuel demand for the market. The introduction of green building projects as a part of governments integral initiative is also likely to propel demand. In addition, growing urbanization and increase in population is expected to fuel growth of the global building and construction plastics market.

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The green building utilizes resource that helps in reducing pollution and this can be another attribute positively impacting growth of this market in years to come. However, the building and construction plastics market is likely to suffer from growing initiative by government to reduce demand for plastics, due to growing concerns towards environment. This aspect is likely to create new growth opportunities for the building and construction plastics market in form of biodegradable and bio based plastics.

On the flip side, fluctuation in price of raw materials for instance, styrene, ethylene and propylene are majorly depended on the price of crude oil that is volatile in nature. In addition, the plastic producer utilizes large amount of crude oil and the price of crude oil is volatile in nature and this is likely to impact overall growth of this market.

Owing to less maintenance, several designers,architects and builders still prefer to use plastic in building and construction activities. The rapid surge in demand for plastic in building and construction is likely to boost growth of this market in the coming years.

From the geographical point of view, North America is likely to dominate global building and construction plastics and it is likely to hold approximately 30 % of the building and construction plastics market in 2019. The growth in the North America region is majorly attributed to the increasing residential construction activities in Canada and U.S. However, other economies such as Asia Pacific region is expected to witness sudden spur due to growing construction,especially in China and India. This is further likely to fuel growth in this market in the coming years.


Lack of social housing has cost renters £1.8bn in 20 years

The Local Government Association said its new research provides evidence for why the government should use the Spending Review to work with councils to ensure that the genuine renaissance in council house-building needed to increase social housing, boost affordability and reduce homelessness, is a success.

In 1997, over a third of households lived in council housing, compared with just one in 10 today. The number of homes built for social rent each year has fallen from over 40,000 in 1997 to 6,000 in 2017. This decline has resulted from the policies of successive governments, such as rules and restrictions hampering the ability of councils to replace homes sold through Right to Buy and central government control of rental income and borrowing limits.

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This loss of social housing has led to more and more individuals and families finding themselves pushed into an often more expensive and less secure private rented sector. As a result, the housing benefit bill paid to private landlords has more than doubled since the early 2000s.

The LGA commissioned Cambridge Economics to assess the implications if 100,000 government-funded social rent homes had been built each year over the past two decades. It found that:

Building 100,000 social rent homes each year for the past 20 years would have enabled all housing benefit claimants living in the private rented sector to move to social rent homes by 2016.

The housing benefit claimants that would have moved from the private rented sector to social rent homes would have benefited to the tune of £1.8 billion in extra disposable income over the period.

Overall, the government would have had to borrow an additional £152 billion in 2017 prices to build the homes over the 20-year period. With every pound spent on building homes generating £2.84 in return, the cost of investing in social housing would have been offset by additional tax revenues generated by the construction industry as well as welfare savings from moving housing benefit claimants to lower cost social rent homes. The rising proportion of housing benefit caseloads in the private rented sector has cost an extra £7 billion in real terms over the last decade.

The government recently accepted the LGA’s call to scrap the housing borrowing limits hampering the ability of councils to invest in new and existing homes, but additional flexibilities would lead to more homes being built.

The LGA said if councils are to truly fulfil their historic role as major housebuilders then the Government needs to allow councils to keep 100 per cent of Right to Buy receipts and set discounts locally to replace every home sold, as well as setting out sustainable long-term funding and a commitment to social housing in the Spending Review.

Cllr Martin Tett, LGA Housing spokesman, said, “Every penny spent on building new social housing is an investment that has the potential to bring significant economic and social returns.

“Now is the time to reverse the decline in council housing over the past few decades. This is the only way to help families struggling to meet housing costs, provide homes to rent and reduce homelessness while also providing economic growth and lowering the housing benefit bill.

“The last time this country built homes at the scale that we need now was in the 1970s when councils built more than 40% of them. With millions of people on social housing waiting lists, councils want to get on with the job of building the new homes that people in their areas desperately need.

“By scrapping the housing borrowing cap, the government showed it had heard our argument that councils must be part of the solution to our chronic housing shortage. Allowing councils to keep 100 per cent of their Right to Buy receipts is the next step to deliver the renaissance in council housebuilding we need as a nation.”

Polly Neate, chief executive at Shelter, said, “As well as cutting the benefit bill and driving down homelessness, a stable supply of social housing would be a national asset. It would give a step up to families struggling in expensive and unstable rented accommodation, enabling them to put down roots and plan for the future. Children could stay in the same school, support networks and communities could flourish and society as a whole would be better off.”


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