The government needs to invest in family homes as part of plans to boost state-backed infrastructure, according to a London politician.
Andrew Boff, leader of the Conservative group on the London Assembly, has warned against a return of high rise blocks and insisted new properties should appeal to families.
He explained that the influx of this accommodation in the 1960s and 1970s was a mistake that led to failed estates and demolitions.
“We’re seduced by the argument that we’ve got to get the numbers on the waiting list down, but we’d be creating problems for the future,” Boff said.
“We’ve got to solve housing problems, but we need family homes to be built and not just one or two bedroom apartments that don’t address the root problem, which is overcrowding.”
Boff was responding to deputy prime minister Nick Clegg’s comments that the government is planning to boost this kind of investment as it looks to stimulate growth.
Clegg said instructions have been given to the Treasury outlining plans to underwrite major projects such as housing.
But Boff has indicated that he wants to see mayor of London Boris Johnson introducing the right kind of properties in the capital.
However, he highlighted that Johnson’s record with the Olympic Park site after this summer’s Games can be a source of optimism.
“The plans for the Olympics before Johnson were for apartment blocks, but he’s managed to stop that,” he said.
“One of the first developments there will be houses with gardens – which is what people want.”
Clegg’s initial comments came after the International Monetary Fund urged the UK to consider fuelling infrastructure and funding or cutting either VAT or National Insurance if the economy continues to struggle.
Speaking to the Financial Times, Clegg denied that the new investment push was “plan B”.
He said that the use of balance sheets to assume additional risks on major schemes was not popular across the board, but it had been agreed by ministers.
“From the top of government, a few weeks ago we decided this was the route we’re going to take,” he added.
The IMF report paid tribute to the progress made under the austerity programme, but warned of the knock-on effect escalation in the eurozone crisis would have on the UK economy.
With this in mind the report stressed that the authorities need to be prepared to put short-term solutions in place to shore up growth.
Chancellor George Osborne said the eurozone is reaching a “critical point”, but said the UK is getting ready to deal with the consequences of the single currency failing.
Speaking on ITV Daybreak, shadow chancellor Ed Balls said: “I think the IMF is right to be urging the Government to get on with it. We need a tough plan to get the deficit down but it has got to work.”