No new social homes planned for at least four years

Our nation faces an unprecedented housing crisis. More than 4.5m people are languishing on waiting lists. Around 2.5m people are living in cramped and overcrowded conditions. And to top it all off, the Government has unleashed a programme of housing benefit cuts that could force hundreds of thousands of people out of their homes, leaving many at risk of ending up on the streets.

David Orr is chief executive of the National Housing Federation

Our nation faces an unprecedented housing crisis. More than 4.5m people are languishing on waiting lists. Around 2.5m people are living in cramped and overcrowded conditions. And to top it all off, the Government has unleashed a programme of housing benefit cuts that could force hundreds of thousands of people out of their homes, leaving many at risk of ending up on the streets.

Ministers are right, of course, to address the fiscal deficit and try to bring down the housing benefit bill. But they have gone about it in the wrong way – rushing through a whole range of harsh and shocking cuts that could leave thousands of households with little choice but to desperately cut back their spending on food, clothing and heating in an ongoing battle to pay the rent.

Many households will struggle to keep up their payments, and may be evicted. Some may find themselves having to sleep rough, with the end result that we could soon see more people homeless than at any time during the last 30 years.

The benefit cuts – which include a cap of £340 on a three bedroom property – won’t just affect a few undeserving families in Kensington & Chelsea and Westminster, as some commentators have suggested.

They will hit 300,000 hard-working low paid families, 300,000 single parents, 180,000 people with disabilities and 120,000 black and Asian households.

The changes will force the poor and vulnerable out of many areas across the country, pushing them away from the very places that have employment opportunities. In taking a sledgehammer to housing benefit, ministers have failed to address the most pressing housing issue – our lack of new homes.

In the 1960s we regularly used to build 300,000 new homes a year. Over time, this figure has fallen sharply; last year just 113,000 new homes were built – the lowest number since 1923. The government is trying to address the shortfall in new homes with a range of new policies. However, most of the decisions they have taken have been the wrong ones.

Ministers have scrapped regional housebuilding targets, without introducing the promised building incentives for councils. The result has been that local authorities up and down the country have slashed the number of planned new homes with glee, with 160,000 homes having been scrapped since May.

The government has also announced that it will slash the social housebuilding budget by 63 per cent. Despite this, it says that it can work with housing associations to build 155,000 ‘social homes’ over the next four years – but this can only be done by charging virtually all people moving into the newly built homes rents at 80 per cent of the market rate.

This would kill off new social housing as we know it, forcing social housing providers to charge tenants rents they cannot afford on short-term tenancies. Housing associations want to work with the ministers to build the homes we so desperately need but they need the freedom to charge affordable rents as well as those at near-market rates.

It is becoming clearer by the day that ministers must reassess their whole approach to housing before they turn what is currently a crisis into a catastrophe.

36 Responses to “No new social homes planned for at least four years”

  1. Juderobinson

    RT @leftfootfwd: No new social homes planned for at least four years: //bit.ly/c6V13C writes David Orr, National Housing Federation

  2. Hannah Chutzpah

    RT @leftfootfwd: No new social homes planned for at least four years: //bit.ly/c6V13C writes David Orr, National Housing Federation

  3. Liza Harding

    RT @leftfootfwd: No new social homes planned for at least four years: //bit.ly/c6V13C writes David Orr, National Housing Federation

  4. Anne Greensmith

    RT @leftfootfwd: No new social homes planned for at least four years: //bit.ly/c6V13C writes David Orr, National Housing Federation

  5. Derek Bryant

    RT @leftfootfwd: No new social homes planned for at least four years: //bit.ly/c6V13C writes David Orr, National Housing Federation

  6. Simon Sayer

    RT @leftfootfwd: No new social homes planned for at least four years: //bit.ly/c6V13C writes David Orr, National Housing Federation

  7. Paul Smith Bristol

    RT @leftfootfwd: No new social homes planned for at least four years: //bit.ly/c6V13C writes David Orr, National Housing Federation

  8. Nicola Youern

    RT @leftfootfwd: No new social homes planned for at least four years: //bit.ly/c6V13C writes David Orr, National Housing Federation

  9. Peter Pannier

    RT @leftfootfwd: No new social homes planned for at least four years: //bit.ly/c6V13C writes David Orr, National Housing Federation

  10. NewLeftProject

    RT @leftfootfwd: No new social homes planned for at least four years: //bit.ly/c6V13C writes David Orr, National Housing Federation

  11. Harry Leslie Smith

    RT @leftfootfwd: No new social homes planned for at least four years: //bit.ly/c6V13C writes David Orr, National Housing Federation

  12. paulstpancras

    RT @leftfootfwd: No new social homes planned for at least four years: //bit.ly/c6V13C writes David Orr, National Housing Federation

  13. False Economy

    No new social homes planned for at least four years: //bit.ly/c6V13C writes David Orr, National Housing Federation (via @leftfootfwd)

  14. John Hickey-Fry

    RT @leftfootfwd: No new social homes planned for at least four years: //bit.ly/c6V13C writes David Orr, National Housing Federation

  15. Nishma Doshi

    RT @FalseEcon: No new social homes planned for at least four years: //bit.ly/c6V13C writes David Orr, National Housing Federation ( …

  16. yorkierosie

    RT @leftfootfwd: No new social homes planned for at least four years: //bit.ly/c6V13C writes David Orr, National Housing Federation

  17. MD-G

    RT @leftfootfwd: No new social homes planned for at least four years: //bit.ly/c6V13C writes David Orr, National Housing Federation

  18. Cherise B

    RT @leftfootfwd: No new social homes planned for at least four years: //bit.ly/c6V13C writes David Orr, National Housing Federation

  19. LadyRoisin

    RT @leftfootfwd: No new social homes planned 4 at least 4 years: Me:Where will evicted ppl live:Council B&B Bills rise? //bit.ly/cLJZJj

  20. Lynne M-F

    RT @leftfootfwd: No new social homes planned for at least four years: //bit.ly/c6V13C writes David Orr, National Housing Federation

  21. Andy S

    RT @leftfootfwd: No new social homes planned for at least four years: //bit.ly/c6V13C writes David Orr, National Housing Federation

  22. Rachael Thorburn

    RT @FalseEcon: No new social homes planned for at least four years: //bit.ly/c6V13C writes David Orr, National Housing Federation ( …

  23. Northern TUC

    RT @FalseEcon: No new social homes planned for at least four years: //bit.ly/c6V13C writes David Orr, National Housing Federation ( …

  24. Spir.Sotiropoulou

    RT @leftfootfwd: No new social homes planned for at least four years //bit.ly/cLJZJj

  25. Pat Raven

    RT @leftfootfwd: No new social homes planned for at least four years //bit.ly/cLJZJj

  26. Kevin leonard

    The problem these millionaires face is that they have no real concept of social housing other than figures on paper or should one say in Newspaper headlines designed to strike fear into the nation with talk of £1500 a week rents.
    The Tories aims have always been to restore social housing to the levels seen prior to the first world war along with the return to Darwinism theory of the strongest surviving while the weak fall by the wayside.
    Poor people are no more than a stain on society which mus be eradicated at all costs lest they contaminate the “nice”(tory)people.

  27. mike

    But didnt liar Nick say the Coalition were going to build more houses than Labour only a few weeks ago

    And what of Boris London homes ??????

  28. Les_Dubh

    RT @FalseEcon: No new social homes planned for at least four years: //bit.ly/c6V13C writes David Orr, National Housing Federation ( …

  29. Mr. Sensible

    I fully agree with this.

    If housing associations are going to have to charge up to 80% of market rates for rent, how can we call these homes affordable?

  30. Wendy Maddox

    RT @leftfootfwd: No new social homes planned for at least four years: //bit.ly/c6V13C writes David Orr, National Housing Federation

  31. Mr Jabberwock

    It will be interesting to look back on this article from 2014. I say that without knowing what the outcome will be but it will be interesting…. I am assuming the author will stand by the “no new housing built” line.

    However before then could the author explain in detail how the the housing benefits changes could lead someone to have to sleep rough?

  32. Robert

    The Tories what the hell did labour do for social housing, sod all.

  33. L DTUC

    RT @leftfootfwd: No new social homes planned for at least four years: //bit.ly/c6V13C writes David Orr, National Housing Federation

  34. Andy Bean

    RT @leftfootfwd: No new social homes planned for at least four years: //bit.ly/c6V13C writes David Orr, National Housing Federation

  35. Jane Ayres

    RT @leftfootfwd No new social homes planned for at least 4 years: //bit.ly/c6V13C David Orr, NHF < well who would afford them anyway?

  36. Peter Pannier

    RT @FalseEcon: No new social homes planned for at least four years: //bit.ly/c6V13C writes David Orr, National Housing Federation ( …

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