England ‘needs 340k new homes a year’

21 May 18

England needs to build 340,000 new homes annually until 2031 to meet housing demand, a report has found.

The country has a backlog of four million homes, according to a joint report by the National Housing Federation and housing charity Crisis released on Friday.

“A new housing settlement is needed to address this shortage, providing a home for everyone who currently needs one,” the report said.

Jon Sparkes, chief executive of Crisis, explained: “[These] findings are stark and shocking, but they also represent a huge opportunity for us as a country to get to grips with our housing and homelessness crisis – and to end it once and for all.”

But the research, conducted by Herriot-Watt University for the two organisations, concluded the 340,000 homes also need to be the right type to meet need.

Terrie Alafat, chief executive of the Chartered Institute of Housing, said: “What the report also shows is that this isn’t just a numbers game and we have to make sure we build the right homes, in the right places and that people can afford them.”

The report emphasised the need for a portion of these houses to be affordable homes, including 90,000 for social rent, 30,000 for immediate affordable rent and 25,000 for shared ownership.

Current government estimates for house building need stand at 300,000 annually.

The report comes ahead of the publication of the government’s social housing green paper, expected this summer.

David Orr, chief executive of NHF, said: “The shortfall of homes can’t be met overnight- instead we need an urgent effort from the government to meet this need, before it publishes its social housing green paper in the summer.

“As a first step, ministers should make the £2bn they promised for social rent available immediately.”  

The government increased its Affordable Homes Programme spending up to 2021 from £7.1bn to £9.1bn in October last year.

The report pointed out that government funding for social housing has been on a downward trend for decades - going from £18bn per year in 1975-76 to  £1.1bn in 2015-16.

Polly Neate, chief executive of Shelter, said: “We are in the midst of a housing emergency where an entire generation faces a daily struggle for a decent home.

“We simply cannot go on with social housebuilding at its lowest since the second world war, while rough sleeping is its highest for a decade.”

The research highlighted rough sleeping had risen 169% in England since 2010, while the number of households in temporary accommodation is on track to reach 100,000 by 2020.

Sparkes called the findings “stark and shocking”.

He added: “Right now across England, councils are desperately struggling to find homeless people somewhere to live.

“To truly get to grips with this crisis and ensure everyone has a safe and stable home, we must build the social and affordable housing we need to end homelessness once and for all.”

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