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“Like many parts of the country, we have a real housing shortage in Birmingham, due to our expanding population and the shortfall in new houses, and we need to provide around 80,000 new homes by 2031,” Birmingham Council’s cabinet member for development, transport and the economy Tahir Ali was quoted by the Birmingham Post as saying.

These West Midland councils are just three of the 22 around the UK that are being offered the chance to take advantage of an additional £122 million to support construction in the country. Mr Lewis advised other local authorities to come forward and put in a bid for some of the money, which they can use to build affordable homes within their communities.

The move comes after the Builders Finance Fund was made available in September, designed to get Britain building once again. Over 160 smaller projects, totalling nearly 13,000 properties in the UK, that were stalled because of the 2008 housing crash are to be restarted, including two in Walsall – a Brewer Street development and the Bentley Court Retirement Village.