Monday, 18 June 2012

Housing shambles

The real impacts of the Government’s economic policies were exposed this week as official figures revealed that affordable house building had collapsed across the country.

In 2010/11, 49.363 affordable homes were started. This was the legacy from the last Labour government’s policies. In 2011/12, the numbers had slumped to just 15,698 – a 68% fall – a direct result of the government’s decision to cut the housing budget by £4bn.

Locally, the figures are even worse. In South Yorkshire, there was a 75% slump. In the whole of Sheffield, just 2 (yes, two) new affordable homes were started in 2011/12.

To put this in context, the government itself predicts that an average 232,000 new homes need to be built each year for the next 30 years, just to keep pace with household formation.

Last week, the official figures also revealed that more than 50,000 homeless households met the strict criteria to be housed by their local council during 2011/12 – a 14% increase on the previous year and a worrying 26% rise on 2009/10. There has also been a 44% increase in those housed in bed and breakfast accommodation.

These figures simply illustrate the disastrous impact of the Government’s housing and economic policies and the need for urgent action to build much needed homes and get the economy going again.

The Government has been warned time and time again that its policies would make the housing crisis worse - locking families out of the housing market, fuelling rising rents in the private rented sector and leaving more people on housing waiting lists. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem to want to listen.