With ever increasing pressure on housing in general, and particularly social housing, a charity has called on the Government to build three million new homes at a cost of £214 billion, which would solve the social housing crisis currently facing the UK.
Commissioned by Shelter and prompted by the Grenfell Tower disaster, the report by the charity urges the Government to plan and invest in a building programme that will last twenty years, alongside extending the criteria for determining those who are entitled to social housing.
The report asked sixteen people from parties across the political spectrum to examine the issue.
Those consulted included former Labour leader Ed Miliband; ex-Tory chairman Baroness Warsi; Baroness Lawrence, the mother of murdered teenager Stephen Lawrence; TV architect George Clarke; and Grenfell survivor Edward
Of the three million homes Shelter says is needed, 1.27 million should be allocated for ‘those in greatest housing need’ which, they list as the homeless, the disabled, and those with long-term health conditions.
Of the remaining homes, 1.17 million are required for those known as ‘trapped renters’, younger families who are stuck in expensive private rental properties who are unable to afford to save enough money to get onto the housing ladder as a result. A further 690,000 homes should be set aside for older private renters who are facing housing insecurity once their income drops as they pass retirement age.
Costs Could Be Recovered
While the scheme may be viewed as expensive, with an average cost of £10.7 billion per year,, experts said two thirds of the the initial costs could be recovered through savings in housing benefit thanks to tenants moving from expensive private renters into lower-cost social housing.
In response to the report, the Government stated that providing ‘quality and fair social housing is a priority’. It currently plans to build a quarter of a million homes by 2022, which includes homes for social rent.
However, it is estimated that around 277,000 people are currently homeless in England, often because they lost their privately rented homes.
Consensus On Report Findings
Figures from both sides of the political divide agreed with the report’s findings.
Former chair of the Conservative Party, Baroness Warsi, said: ‘Social mobility has been decimated by decades of political failure to address our worsening housing crisis.
‘We simply cannot afford not to act.’
Talking on BBC Breakfast, Mr Miliband said the proposal would ‘transform the fabric of the country, the lives of millions of people in the country.
‘It is a big sum of money but the problem is, the last Labour government didn’t do enough, and neither is the current government doing enough.
‘In the years after the Second World War, governments – Labour and Conservative – built about 120,000 social homes and council houses every year.
‘In the last 20 years or so – we’ve built 20,000 social homes per year – and that is one of the biggest causes of the housing crisis.’