Housing minister Stefan Attefall (l), two fairly new apartments, Mats Gerdau (r). Photo: Leif R Jansson/Fredrik Varfjell/Henrik Montgomery/Scanpix. Montage: Sveriges Radio.

Critics: giving regions more power won't solve housing shortage

Sweden's minister who is responsible for housing issues, Stefan Attefall, wants to give Swedish regions more power when it comes to building new housing, and will be establishing a committee to investigate what this would look like.

However, critics complain this could come at the expense of how much municipalities get to control their own planning.

"That someone else would decide where things are built in the municipalities - that goes against how it's been in Sweden for 1,000 years," Mats Gerdau, a conservative Moderate politician who chairs the municipal executive board of Nacka in the county of Stockholm, tells Swedish Radio News, adding, "I don't believe that would contribute at all to more construction."

Attefall is interested in the possibility of creating some kind of regional organ that would give regions more influence over the planning process to build more housing.

As it is now, the coordination between many municipalities is often lacking, and there are municipalities that build altogether too little, reports Swedish Radio News.

"The current system isn't working," says Attefall, adding, "We're not thinking enough on the regional level, but it's also hard for individual municiaplities to take into account all the different national goals and interests that are around."

Attefall takes the Stockholm region, with its 20 municipalities, as an example. There is a noticeable shortage of housing, but growing municipalities like Nacka and Värmdö are not building more than Ludvika in with a declining population.

He claims that municipalities are looking after their own interests, without seeing the needs of the region as a whole.

However, Mats Gerdau in Nacka says the problem is that buidling housing takes a very long time, and a lot of the plans are stuck in court, as they constantly get appealed.

"That's where the state, maybe, the government, can take the intiative to hasten the process instead," he says.

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