Unite urges action to kick-start social house building

Unite Deputy General Secretary, Jack Dromey said: "Unite welcomes the progress the Government has made, including in the recent budget. There is still much more to do however.

"As the recession bites and home repossessions mount, the demand for social housing is expected to rise from the already 4.5 million people on local authority social housing waiting lists – 1 in 12 people in the country. A shortage of housing also fuels tensions in hard-pressed communities, exploited by the brain-dead boot boys in suits of the BNP.

"A large-scale social housing programme, including council-built and rented property, is urgently needed to meet social need. The Government must devote more resources to a new deal for housing, building Britain out of recession."

Unite is calling for:
* A massive programme of "new build, high-quality, environmentally-sustainable social housing, including council homes which would create jobs, meet housing need, and redress the inequality of social housing in rural areas;
* A comprehensive construction apprenticeship scheme for the 16-24-year olds whose job prospects have diminished during the recession;
* Investment in a "retro-fit" programme for existing homes to improve energy efficiency ie) the seven million homes that require solid wall insulation. It is estimated that such action could generate a further 25,000 jobs and would greatly contribute to the Government’s environmental targets;
* The Government to use its large stake in the banking sector to do more to prevent repossessions and strengthen the regulatory framework;
* Greater support for housing associations to ensure they receive sufficient funding to provide housing and support for tenants;
* Staff numbers and employment conditions are maintained and enhanced, as outlined by Unite’s Recession Charter for the Not for Profit Sector launched in April.
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