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Prefab houses to be built for public sector workers

THE GOVERNMENT was due to unveil proposals yesterday (Wednesday) for an extra 4,400 homes in London and the southeast as part of a £200 million affordable housing development programme.

A report due to be released by the Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott will also outline plans for around 1,800 homes to be built in the region using off-site manufacturing techniques.

The decision to roll out a series of prefabrication pilot projects follows concerns raised by the Government that plans to build more low-cost housing for public sector workers could be hampered by the rising cost of labour.

A spokesman for the Deputy Prime Minister's office said:

'There are some serious issues that need to be addressed if we are going to solve the problem of providing key public sector workers with affordable homes.

'We need a quick fix and modular houses can be constructed in half the time. They can also help to address the problems of a skills shortage in the industry.

'The house building industry has made great progress in terms of design and the schemes will be overseen by the architecture and design watchdog, Cabe.'

The development programme is headed by the Housing Corporation, which has selected 34 housing associations to deliver the schemes.

Other initiatives will include a £500 million package to demolish houses in areas where there is low demand and give local authorities the power to build under the Private Finance Initiative.

The proposed changes will provide councils with the financial freedom to build new social housing through Housing Revenue Account PFI schemes.