Today’s Budget represents a missed opportunity to make an impact upon the nation’s housing crisis.
The Campaign for Social Housing welcomes the Chancellor’s announcement of an additional £2.7 billion for the housing infrastructure fund and the proposal to lift borrowing caps in “high demand” (yet to be defined) areas. However, the government’s proposals appear to offer no new investment in social rented housing during this Parliament.
The Campaign for Social Housing has consistently made the case that investment in 100,000 social rented homes each year is one of the most effective ways to solve the nation’s housing ills. Not only would it help to slash the wasteful £25 billion spend on Housing Benefit each year but it would help to bring the housing market back to some kind of sensible stability. This would not happen overnight, but our research shows that over the course of a generation the Treasury could save more than £ 1 trillion from the Housing Benefit bill. This investment makes economic, social and political sense.
Housing Benefit effectively supports high rents in both the social and private rented sector. It is a waste of public money and benefits no one, least of all those who find themselves trapped on benefits in over-priced properties.
High housing costs and the lack of affordable housing underpin most of the ills in our society, including poor productivity, poverty, homelessness and lack of economic investment. High rents and house prices suck money out of the economy. Investing in social rented housing will have multiple benefits. It stimulates the economy and over the long term it will draw hundreds of thousands of people out of the unpopular private rented sector into high quality affordable homes, helping to bring down real house prices and private rents at a managed, sensible pace.
This is the solution to our housing crisis that the Chancellor has rejected today. Relaxing stamp duty is likely to increase house prices and pumping billions of pounds into the failed Help to Buy programme is not the answer. All the expert evidence shows that this merely inflates house prices and boosts the profits of housebuilders, without having any material impact upon supply.
The government says it want to push housing higher up the political agenda and to make life easier for the priced-out generation but the proposals announced today will do little to boost supply and are likely to push up house prices even further.
Here at the campaign for social housing it has always been our goal to make the building of social housing a central theme of cross-party discussion and policy in the housing sector. With that in mind it was refreshing today to hear the Prime Minister specifically talk about social housing being one of the possible uses of an additional £2 billion fund to top up the 2016-2021 Affordable Housing Programme. Whatever the detail of the funding, this is a dramatic and positive change in direction for a government previously dedicated primarily to home ownership recognising the work of campaigns and independent groups to shift the focus back to truly affordable rented homes .Read more
SHOUT - The Campaign for Social Housing - has made a submission to the Treasury to suggest that the country can take a more efficient, sustainable approach to national investment, to beat the housing crisis
Our submission summarises that:
Current policy and allocation of public spending on housing low-income households is not fiscally sustainable or economically efficient, and is a significant contributor to rising homelessness.
Lack of housing supply is a longstanding, and very serious, weakness in the British economy.
Government investment in new housing at rents which are genuinely affordable to those on lower incomes would be good value for money for the taxpayer and is an essential part of boosting total housebuilding to economically sustainable levels.
The Budget needs to set out a fair, sustainable and consistent settlement for rents and welfare entitlement in the social housing sector.
This should include a specific housing allowance for care and supported housing, at a level which enables providers to continue provision and develop new stock. Not doing so risks significant cost-shunting into already overstretched social care and health budgets.
The full submission to the Autumn 2017 Budget can be found by clicking here.
On 23 November, Philip Hammond will deliver the Government’s Autumn Statement setting out the Government’s spending plans for the next few years. The government has signalled that it will be something of a “reset” of George Osborne’s plans; Theresa May has said that she wants the Government to help families who are “just managing”; and Ministers have signalled that they want the housing investment programme to support a range of tenures. A Housing White Paper is promised for the end of the year also.Read more
Council house-building renaissance would save post-Brexit Britain billions
Building 100,000 social rent homes a year would save the country billions whatever happens to the economy post-Brexit according to new research published today by a group of housing organisations.
Research by City consultancy Capital Economics for a coalition of housing organisations has assessed the impact of future investment in council house-building on the UK economy in the light of Brexit.Read more
HOUSING ORGANISATIONS SAY MINISTERS SHOULD THINK AGAIN ABOUT UNFAIR RENT HIKES FOR HARD-WORKING COUNCIL TENANTS
As the Government’s Housing Bill approaches the next stage in its bumpy ride through the House of Lords, tenant and housing campaigners have called on Ministers to drop proposals (labelled “Pay to Stay”) announced in George Osborne’s 2015 Budget to charge unaffordable market rents to households in council homes earning as little as £30,000 a year. They have published a report using tenants’ own words to explain why the policy is wrong.
The full report can be read by clicking on this link.
Ahead of the Housing and Planning Bill moving to the House of Lords, SHOUT - the campaign for genuinely affordable social housing, has updated its Parliamentary Briefing on the areas of the new legislation which pose challenges to the core goals of our campaign -providing safe and decent homes that people can afford to live in.
Our research on the Bill as it stands can be read by clicking here.
This briefing covers issues around Starter Homes, the Pay To Stay policy, the extension of the Right To Buy to Housing associations, the mandatory sale of high value council properties and the deregulation of housing associations. Although many of the peers involved in the debate will have extensive knowledge about the far-reaching consequences of the Bill, SHOUT encourages all our followers to make as many of them as possible aware of the issues before the debate, which may be happening as early as next week, commencing 25/01/2016.
“We choose to build.” Up to a point, Chancellor
George Osborne’s spin doctors were obviously working hard yesterday to give political correspondents a preview of the Autumn Statement’s announcements about housing. Or parts of it, anyway. Talk of “400,000 new homes”, “doubling the budget for affordable housing,” and over £6billion of spending, sound great and the coverage was largely uncritical. But we in SHOUT fear that short term presentational success may be the most successful feature of today’s announcements.
In response to the Housing Bill, SHOUT has compiled a Parliamentary Briefing addressing the issues presented in the Bill as it currently stands. Our briefing can be read here.
This is a forensic look at the implications for the existing measures detailed in the Bill and a range of suggestions that the SHOUT campaign feels will make the creation of homes that people can genuinely afford to buy or rent a realistic prospect.
We welcome Policy Exchange's recent comments on Inside Housing. They've given us a chance to correct some of the things that aren't quite correct in their analysis, and to let you all know what the SHOUT campaign is shaping up to do next.
There's been a buoyant mood around the SHOUT campaign over the last couple of months. Although all the supporters have been busy with the roles they hold outside campaigning to provide homes that people can afford to live in, the team recently held a meeting to decide future direction.Read more