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Balls calls for £6bn building plan

Labour leadership contender Ed Balls has called for an extra £6bn to be invested to build an additional 100,000 affordable homes in a major new programme of house-building.

Balls was joined by wife Yvette Cooper – the shadow work and pensions secretary – for the first time on the campaign trail when they visited a new housing development in central London to highlight his plan.

He argued that the Government should fund a rapid expansion of house-building from a £12bn “windfall” available because state borrowing for 2009-10 came in at £155bn - lower than Alistair Darling’s forecast of £167bn in the March Budget.

The shadow education secretary believes his plan could create up to 750,000 jobs in the private sector, boosting economic growth as the UK and global economic recovery remain fragile, and tackling the urgent shortage of decent affordable housing.

He admitted that Labour’s pre-election plans to build 176,000 social homes over four years were “too cautious” and acknowledged that the party was “late in recognising the importance of building more homes and more affordable homes” while in office.

A massive boost in house-building would “exemplify the economic alternative we need right now, and expose the myth that cuts can somehow produce jobs and growth”.

“The truth is that whilst we made progress, Labour leaders over several decades never paid enough sustained attention to housing to make it the priority it deserved. That must change,” Mr Balls said.

Readers' comments (1)

  • Building affordable homes MUST NOT mean constructing cheap over populated slums.

    As an example, is 6 people in 103 sq metres adequate ? or 4 in 75 sq m ? suitable ????.Oh and stacked FIVE high with no lift ...

    see for waht I mean ... OK its at the bootom of my street, BUT the whole area is up in arms against it - but it seems someone promised someone ...

    I live in a cottage of 130 sq metres with one other person. Before that i lived on my own in a flat of 65 Sq metres - altho a couple and a child could live in it ok.

    But that is what we are doing ... the Victorians, especially in Glasgow built large higher ceinged dwellings because they realised that a well housed work force brought more profit.

    Now it seems the trend is to be reversed ...

    The standard "Council House" was reasonable size, with a garden. These properties now sell for a good price since Thatcher gave them all away ... to create a new [conservative voting] middle class.

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