New opportunities to tackle the acute housing crisis in the region could be provided by devolving powers from central Government to councils in Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire.
The comment comes from The National Housing Federation as all councils in both counties and the D2N2 Local Enterprise negotiate a deal with Government which is expected to transfer several powers including more scope and authority to support house-building.
A federation report highlights how workers in many areas would need huge pay rises to be able to afford an average home, with house prices in the East Midlands now seven times the annual local salary.
The average income needed for an 80% mortage in 2014 in Derbyshire was £39,070 and in Nottinghamshire £38,078.
Last year 8,080 too few homes were built to keep up with demand in the East Midlands. The issue is set to worsen with 342,000 new households expected to form in the region by 2037,
Kate Warburton, the federation’s external affairs manager for the East Midlands, said: “Without a significant increase in house building, rents and house prices will continue to rise, pushing a decent home out of the reach of even more local people. By providing secure homes for all we can build a foundation on which anyone can make a better life for themselves and thousands more people can achieve their aspiration of a home to call their own.”
Powers expected to be passed to Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire councils include:
l More control over the skills budget and funding for apprenticeships - – making sure that people get the training and experience they need to meet the demands of local businesses
l More power to invest in getting people back to work
l Extra funding to support businesses and help them grow and create more jobs in high-tech industries.
Leader of Derbyshire County Council Councillor Anne Western said: “This report gives clear evidence for why we need a devolution deal for Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire.
“Affordable housing, more skilled jobs paying decent wages and training to give local people the skills needed for those jobs is exactly what this region needs – and that’s exactly what we can deliver if we get a devolution deal from central Government.
Councillor Alan Rhodes, leader of Nottinghamshire County Council, added: “Devolution can release Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire from the shackles of central government control and help us put home ownership within the reach of thousands more families.
“Our bid will deliver an estimated 77,000 new affordable homes in Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire, plus a raft of regeneration and transport improvements and the skills, employment and higher wage opportunities to transform quality of life and economic prospects of our region.”