Housing

Ikea to build affordable housing to combat high rents

Swedish furniture giant Ikea will build 36 flats to show it is possible to build genuinely affordable homes

They make your bookcases, bed, lamps, lights and sofas, so why not go ahead and let them build you a home too? Swedish furniture giant Ikea has announced it is building its own apartment block in the Icelandic capital Reykjavik.

The 36 flats will be set aside for Ikea employees, but the company CEO has said he wants to combat high rents in Reykjavik and demonstrate that building genuinely affordable housing is possible.

The new flats will be cheaper than what a lot of people are paying to live in a dump, says the company’s CEO

To be constructed and fully furnished (the easy bit) by next summer, the lowest rents for apartments at the Ikea development will be set around 100,000 krona – £716 – each month. “That’s much cheaper than what a lot of people are paying (to live in) a dump,” said Thorinn Ivarsson, the company’s CEO in Iceland.

No doubt many Ikea employees in the south of England would welcome that sort of rent level. The Big Issue has previously examined the legacy of philanthropic and workers’ housing built in the UK during industrial era end of the 19th century and beginning of the 20th century.

Today, some of the big banks in the City and Canary Wharf are known to provide flats for employees. The Armed Forces have continued to build plenty of accommodation for military personnel. But few of the UK’s biggest employers or most successful companies now feel the need to make sure their workforce has somewhere affordable to live.

Perhaps more big firms should consider the Ikea scheme. Their muscle might just help disrupt the cartel-like control held by small number of major developers over land acquisition and new housebuilding.

If you know of any interesting worker accommodation projects, let us know editorial@bigissue.com or @BigIssue.

Support the Big Issue

For over 30 years, the Big Issue has been committed to ending poverty in the UK. In 2024, our work is needed more than ever. Find out how you can support the Big Issue today.
Vendor martin Hawes

Recommended for you

View all
UK housing crisis is so bad that some people waiting 55 years for a social home: 'We need change'
social housing in England
Social housing

UK housing crisis is so bad that some people waiting 55 years for a social home: 'We need change'

We need new homes to have any hope of ending UK's housing crisis. So where are all the builders?
builders
HOUSING

We need new homes to have any hope of ending UK's housing crisis. So where are all the builders?

Emmerdale star Alexander Lincoln: 'When people lose their house, they can lose their humanity'
Homelessness

Emmerdale star Alexander Lincoln: 'When people lose their house, they can lose their humanity'

Labour unveils plan for new housing on 'ugly grey belt land'. But is Starmer going far enough?
Keir Starmer and Angela Rayner announce new grey belt Labour housebuilding plan
Housing crisis

Labour unveils plan for new housing on 'ugly grey belt land'. But is Starmer going far enough?

Most Popular

Read All
Renters pay their landlords' buy-to-let mortgages, so they should get a share of the profits
Renters: A mortgage lender's window advertising buy-to-let products
1.

Renters pay their landlords' buy-to-let mortgages, so they should get a share of the profits

Exclusive: Disabled people are 'set up to fail' by the DWP in target-driven disability benefits system, whistleblowers reveal
Pound coins on a piece of paper with disability living allowancve
2.

Exclusive: Disabled people are 'set up to fail' by the DWP in target-driven disability benefits system, whistleblowers reveal

Cost of living payment 2024: Where to get help now the scheme is over
next dwp cost of living payment 2023
3.

Cost of living payment 2024: Where to get help now the scheme is over

Strike dates 2023: From train drivers to NHS doctors, here are the dates to know
4.

Strike dates 2023: From train drivers to NHS doctors, here are the dates to know