CIH: With 150k social homes lost government must invest in housing

31 Jan 18

The government should take an “urgent look” at increasing funding to affordable housing as more than 150,000 homes for social rent have been lost in five years, the Chartered Institute of Housing has said.

An analysis of government figures by the trade body, released today, revealed 151,000 of the most affordable rented homes have been lost across England in five years and the number is expected to rise to 230,000 by 2020.

Terrie Alafat , chief executive of CIH, said: “We need to increase the number of homes we are building but it’s not just a numbers game – we need to make sure we are building the right homes, in the right places, and that people can afford them.”

The institute urged ministers to focus on affordability and building new homes to fix the “country’s broken housing market”.

Last year prime minister Theresa May announced an extra £2bn investment in affordable housing, including social rent, and the Budget set out the government’s intentions to build 300,000 new homes a year.

Alafat said: “The prime minister is absolutely right to make housing a priority, and some of the things the government is doing will help.

“But government investment is still heavily skewed towards the private market.

“Our analysis shows that 79% of the housing budget up to 2020-21 is directed towards private housing, with just 21% going to affordable housing.

“Rebalancing this budget, so that more money is spent on affordable homes, could make a big difference.”

Funding for social rent, which tends to be around 30% to 40% cheaper than market rent, was cut by the coalition government in 2010.

The funding has now been targeted towards homes for affordable rent, which can be up to 80% of market rents.

According to figures from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government and Homes England, 103,642 local authority homes and 46,972 housing association homes for social rent were lost between 2012 and 2017.

Based on the current figures, the institute has projected 230,000 homes for social rent will be lost by 2020, including 158,642 council homes and 70,972 housing association homes.

Rough sleeping increased sharply in England last year, leading to calls from councils and the CIH to change government policies on welfare and home building.

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