A National Housing Fund to Build the Homes we Need

Publication Details

Launched on 14 July, ResPublica’s new report A National Housing Fund to Build Homes We Need offers a radical way forward in tackling the current housing crisis and outlines the economic and social case for a new government investment in housebuilding. The report’s proposals offer a solution behind which all parties can unite to address one of our urgent national policy priorities and get the housing market working for the many.

In this timely follow up report to last year’s Going to Scale, the report presents new research on the potential of a National Housing Fund. The authors show that the Fund would significantly boost housing supply by utilising government’s ability to borrow money at historically low rates, and housing associations’ expertise in letting and managing properties.

Supported by new analysis and modelling, the report details the substantial economic and social benefits that a National Housing Fund would deliver. The report finds that, in ensuring at least 40,000 more homes are built a year, the Fund would boost public finances, create new jobs around the country, boost small developers, and grow construction capacity through repeated investment over 10 years. This new research on the impact of the Fund finds that:

●     Ensure a minimum of 40,000 homes to be built annually

●     Boost public finances by £3.4 billion

●     Create 180,000 new jobs in the construction sector

●     Boost SME growth through certainty of purchase

●     Create a financial instrument so that debt does not contribute to the deficit

●     Support the wider construction industry through repeat investment

For the economic analysis which underpins this report, see this paper from JLL.

Managing Director of PCA and report author, Philip Callan, said:

“Government has confirmed that we have a broken housing market and we now have a strong political consensus to build more rented homes. Historically low borrowing costs can provide the mechanism to deliver the homes we need.

Our report focuses on the practical steps that government can take to deliver many more homes. All of our proposed actions are in their control. What is needed now is the political will and leadership to make it happen.”

Director of ResPublica and report author, Phillip Blond, said:

“Successive Governments have failed to build enough homes, or enable enough homes to be built, and the election demonstrated that voters will punish parties at the ballot box if their housing offer is not credible. We must make radical changes if we are going to address a problem which is dividing our society between those who can afford to enter the property market and those who are priced out – the haves and have nots.

Our National Housing Fund offers the Government a way to finally build the homes it acknowledges it needs. Through the notion of a guaranteed buyer we reinvent the only formula that has ever enabled the state to build at scale. Crucially this idea will dramatically expand the capacity of two relatively dormant sectors, the SME building market and Housing Associations, such that they too can build at scale and open up the market for the millions who need it to work for them”

Kevin Hollinrake MP, Conservative member of the Communities and Local Government Committee, said:

“Despite the significant increase in housebuilding we have seen since the financial crisis, we are still nowhere near the level required and need to increase delivery by around 100,000 homes per annum to meet demand. We urgently need every sector of the market to step up their building numbers and this is a welcome initiative that could provide a long-term solution to one of our society’s biggest social and economic problems.”

Clive Betts MP, Labour chair of the Communities and Local Government Committee, said:

“I warmly welcome ResPublica’s new report on its proposal for a National Housing Fund. The report sets out a clear financial case for investing in the right way in housebuilding.

“While this new research finds that the economic benefits would be substantial, the authors are right to focus on the need not just for more homes, but the right types of homes. Building homes available at sensible rents, and offering new routes into ownership, would be transformational for young families feeling the pinch around the country.

“We need new thinking because business as usual is not an option. With Brexit looming, the Government has a lot on its plate, but that must not mean it shies away from the task of tackling the housing crisis. The National Housing Fund is a novel and exciting proposal for change, and I urge ministers to consider it closely.”

Lord Kerslake, former Permanent Secretary at the Department for Communities and Local Government, said:

“This is a big and ambitious proposal that alongside other measures, would have a material impact on the supply of new housing. It deserves serious consideration by government and the sector.”

  • Phillip Blond


    Phillip is an internationally recognised political thinker and social and economic commentator. He bridges the gap between politics and practice, offering strategic consultation and policy formation to governments, businesses and organisations across the world. He founded ResPublica in 2009 and...

    Phillip Blond
  • Philip Callan

    Managing Director, PCA

    Philip Callan is the Managing Director of PCA: following roles in the chemical industry and distribution Philip held senior roles in the health service, the London fire brigade and the Housing Corporation before founding PCA in 1988. He has led...

  • Edward Douglas

    Policy and Projects Manager

    Edward manages ResPublica’s housing programme. He has written extensively on housing, planning and regeneration. He also works on employment, skills, enterprise and finance policy. He is the author of Great Estates on regeneration, and co-author of Going to Scale on...

    Edward Douglas