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Gov't: political consensus needed to solve housing crunch

Published onsdag 13 januari 2016 kl 10.28
Minister Mehmet Kaplan: "We need invest more in building new homes"
(3:31 min)
More construction is needed to ease the shortage, the government says. Photo: Tomas Oneborg / TT.
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More construction is needed to ease the shortage, the government says. Photo: Tomas Oneborg / TT.
From left to right: Housing Minister Mehmet Kaplan, Prime Minister Stefan Löfven and Finance Minister Magdalena Andersson. Photo: Maja Suslin / TT.
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From left to right: Housing Minister Mehmet Kaplan, Prime Minister Stefan Löfven and Finance Minister Magdalena Andersson. Photo: Maja Suslin / TT.

Government leaders on Wednesday called upon all parties to put political bickering aside in order to solve the nation's growing housing shortage.

According to the National Board of Housing, Building and Planning, Sweden will need more than 700,000 new homes by 2025, but current construction rates show the nation falling short of that goal.

Writing in an op-ed in newspaper Dagens Nyheter, Prime Minister Stefan Löfven along with Finance Minister Magdalena Andersson (both Social Democrats) and Housing Minister Mehmet Kaplan (Greens) said the government would open talks with all parties, except for the Sweden Democrats, with whom no parties are negotiating at the national level because of their opposition to immigration, about how to spur on construction.

"A sustainable society requires cooperation," they wrote. "Therefore, we want to gather Sweden together to build a stronger country."

The ministers also put forth a three-point proposal that suggested simplifying building regulations, training more workers for the construction industry and boosting financial incentives for housing.

Sweden has dealt with a housing shortage for years and has seen property prices climb dramatically in large cities. Steady population growth along with more than 160,000 refugees arriving last year means that many people will continue to struggle to find affordable housing.

"Let us debate the individual proposals but agree that the goal is to meet the need for new housing. To this end, the government is prepared to do whatever is necessary," the article read.

In the op-ed, the ministers also touted the government's own achievements so far, saying it had shortened the appeals process for housing projects, presented new noise regulations and invested in energy-efficient and climate-friendly buildings.

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