Brent Council vowed to build 1,000 new council homes over the next five years as it celebrated the centenary of social housing in the UK.

Speakers from across the housing sector attended an event at Brent Civic Centre yesterday (February 10), where they outlined the importance of council homes in society.

They acknowledged the struggles faced by local authorities and the significant drop off in council house building since the 1960s and 70s but pledged to push for a brighter future.

Cllr Muhammed Butt, leader of Brent Council, said he recognises the value of council homes in the borough – around 12,500 – but that “more can be done”.

“Council housing is one of the most important things we can do as a council,” he said.

“It gives people hope, aspirations and ambition and it saddens my heart that we haven’t been able to provide more.

“But we still have the opportunity to make a difference, which is why we’re committed to building more homes.

“This will provide long-term security, will allow children to bring their friends over and have a space to study and let more people reach their full potential.”

Brent Council housing director Hakeem Osinaike said there was a clear objective to provide new council homes over the next five years.

He said this will result in “good quality, spacious homes that people can raise families in and be proud to live in”.

Combined with other social initiatives, such as projects carried out by housing associations, the council hopes to see 5,000 new homes across this period to help address the housing crisis.

The event, which marked 100 years since the introduction of the Addison Act that brought about council homes in Britain, celebrated the successes of social housing schemes in Brent.

Gavin Smart, chief executive of the Chartered Institute of Housing, recognised this but stressed that, at a national level, there needs to be an update to the approach to providing homes.

“It’s a national shame that we can’t properly house ourselves because homes are the glue that binds the country together,” he said.

“We need to build more homes and we need to build more homes that people can afford – when we get it right, it changes lives.”

He added that councils have an added responsibility as the bodies which “know their space and communities” better than anyone.