Posted by: Adam Roake | January 20, 2010

Ken and Kickstart

Ken Livingstone‘s latest job, as BD columnist, seems to have got off to an interesting start. As he puts it:

The headache for Bob Kerslake and his team is to balance the competing pressures to lift the construction sector out of recession without adding to Britain’s sub-standard housing stock. Better to take the time to redesign and improve those schemes the HCA is taking over, rather than build homes that residents will be dissatisfied with as well as failing on sustainability.

It seems even Amanda Baillieu has now changed her mind and agrees that, “While it would be irresponsible to let every housebuilder go to the wall, those bailed out by the Homes & Communities Agency should have to demonstrate that what they’re proposing to build is of an acceptable quality.

I do hope that the HCA will make sure they at least do that through the next round of Kickstart due diligence.  Indeed, given that none of the major housebuilders and not many of the smaller ones have actually gone bust perhaps HCA should review whether Kickstart remains an appropriate programme for government funding. HCA say there is a change of emphasis in Kickstart 2 toward more gap funding and less assistance with liquidity issues but perhaps the sector is no longer a worthy recipient of state handouts. Perhaps, as Ken suggests, HCA should be demanding more for their (our!!) money.


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