The same number of new homes are being built in London as every city region in the so-called "Northern Powerhouse" combined, putting the growth project at risk, a new housing campaign has warned. House building in the north of England has fallen over the past decade and is well below levels seen in the 1980s.
Homes for the North, a campaign group of 20 of the largest housing associations in the north of England, said on average over the past 10 years, 19,501 new homes a year have been built in London, a 28% increase on the 1980s. That compares to a 28% drop for Northern Powerhouse cities on average, including Leeds and Liverpool, to 21,138. The figures come from an analysis by the Policy Exchange think tank on behalf of the Homes for the North campaign.
The government has made much of its commitment to drive economic growth and regeneration in the north of England, which it brands the Northern Powerhouse. There has been a focus on infrastructure, such as upgrading the rail networks. "For the Northern Powerhouse to become a reality, we need more good quality homes to support and attract a modern, growing workforce," said Mark Henderson, chair of Homes for the North.
"Today's research shows how northern city regions have struggled to keep up with the same level of housebuilding as in the 1980s. This is in stark contrast to London, which has seen a surge in its population over the past 30 years with the boom in the services sector."
Henderson said the "devolution agenda", with the government keen to hand more power to local areas, in particular city mayors, "offers northern towns and cities a great opportunity to attract new investment, jobs and people.
"As more people flock to our great northern regions, demand for homes of all tenures will increase. Homes for the North will be at the heart of making this a reality."
Brandon Lewis, the housing minister, said the government had "brought housing back from the brink" and the number of new homes in the north of England had risen 36% over the past year. "However, we know there is more to do," he said. "That's why we've doubled the housing budget to support the boldest plan for housing by any government since the 1970s, including our Housing Zone programme, which has the potential to deliver thousands of new homes for hardworking families across the region.
"We've also recently announced the launch of the Greater Manchester Land Commission that will help deliver a further 10,000 properties a year and just this week brought forward more than 150 acres of surplus public land for housing in Warrington, Doncaster and near Preston."