An aspect of my work which gets little attention here, but on which I am fairly persistently engaged, relates to developing new means of raising capital for essential social infrastructure projects. I work on this issue with environmentalist and economist Colin Hines. We had the following letter in this morning's Guardian:
The prime minister is too fixated on building more homes. Another way to free up housing would be to get rid of the tax incentives for buy to let. Many people have entered this latter market as an alternative to what is seen as an unsatisfactory pensions system.
Why doesn't Gordon Brown encourage local councils to attract pension-fund money through the issuing of local-authority bonds, and use this to invest in a dramatic increase in the stock of social housing? This would provide a secure income for part of people's pension pots, and in the process result in both a social and a savings dividend.
Richard Murphy and Colin Hines
Finance for the Future
There's more on this theme here.