A new group chaired by Gordon Brown’s former housing adviser will warn the prime minister today that he must spend billions over two years to tackle the ever more desperate shortage of social housing.

The 2020 Group will argue that a £6.35bn programme of new home-building will also pump-prime the economy and save tens of thousands of jobs.

The body is headed by Kate Barker, a former member of the Bank of England’s monetary policy committee, who wrote an official report on UK housing in 2004 that has driven government thinking since.

There are about 4.5m people on local authority housing waiting lists – a jump of 73% since 1997 – and the queue is likely to grow during the downturn.

Financial Times