EXCLUSIVE: Business secretary will bring together 20 housing leaders today to discuss financing

Vince Cable

Business secretary Vince Cable has convened a meeting of twenty senior public and private housing leaders in the Coalition’s latest bid to turn around the economy by tackling the housing crisis.

The talks, to be held this afternoon at the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, will be attended by housing minister Grant Shapps and a host of housebuilders, housing association leaders and housing policy bigwigs.

The meeting comes in the wake of Cable’s speech to the Centre Forum on Monday, in which he said the government was looking to underwrite loans to affordable housing providers to boost construction of affordable homes.

Mike Farley, chief executive of Persimmon, Steve Morgan, chairman of Redrow and Stewart Baseley, executive chair of the Home Builders’ Federation are among those invited to discuss ideas for improving supply with Cable and Shapps.

The meeting is expected to look at what more the government could do to support housebuilding, in particular by examining what is the best mix of private and public financing.

In his Centre Forum speech Cable said that the “large, unmet demand” for social housing might be able to be met by using government guarantees to back loans to builders of social homes.

In addition he raised the prospect of “co-financing”, where central government subsidy to support housebuilding is matched by contributions from other public sector agencies.

Linden Homes

Cable is the fourth cabinet minister to raise the prospect of using government guarantees to boost private investment in construction projects in the last six weeks, with prime minister David Cameron, deputy prime minister Nick Clegg and chancellor George Osborne all promising new initiatives.

Last Friday Osborne said that more detail would be available on government guarantees to support housing and infrastructure projects “in the next month.”

Other attendees of today’s meeting include Grania Long, chief executive of the Chartered Institute of Housing, Ben Derbyshire, chief executive of housing architect HTA, HCA chief executive Pat Ritchie and chief construction advisor Paul Morrell.

In addition the chief executives of housing associations Affinity Sutton, Places for People and London & Quadrant will be attending.