Charity calls for fresh social housing plan as private rents spiral

3 Aug 18

Rents in England have risen 60% faster than wages since 2011, a housing charity has said.

Private rents in England have risen 16% since 2011 while the average wages have only risen by 10%, according to the housing charity Shelter.

Analysis of Office for National Statistics figures from 2011 to 2017 revealed the local authorities where the rise in rents and wages were most disproportionate.

Barking and Dagenham had a 40% difference between rents and wages increases, while South Oxfordshire had a difference of 35%.

Shelter said the problem of rents rising faster than wages has spread from London to cities like Cambridge, Bristol and Birmingham and has even hit ‘middle England’ market towns like Tunbridge Wells and Milton Keynes.

The charity called on the government to come up with a new plan for social housing so people on low income jobs can find somewhere affordable to rent.

Greg Beales, campaign director at Shelter, said: “With this surge in private renters the housing market has shifted massively and yet as a country we’ve failed to respond.

“This has resulted in consecutive governments focusing on better-off home owners whilst not doing enough for hard pressed renters.  

“We need politicians of all parties to sit up and take notice of the rising numbers of renters, and ensure they're doing all they can to protect them.” 

Shelter said that of the estimated 23.1 million households in England in 2016-17, the private rented sector accounted for 4.7 million- 20% of households.

The average proportion of income being spent on rent by private renters is now 41%, according to the charity.

An MHCLG spokesperson said: “The key to improving long term affordability is to build more and we are investing £9bn in affordable housing so that more people can have access to a good quality affordable home.

“We are also banning unfair letting fees to tenants and capping tenancy deposits, helping millions of renters by bringing an end to costly upfront payments and renewal fees.”

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