In 2010, Housing Minister Grant Shapps told me
“Building more homes [than Labour] is the gold standard upon which we shall be judged.”
In 2011, Cameron told the CBI
“We will restart the housing market and get Britain building again."
Yet David Cameron and Nick Clegg have presided over the lowest level of housebuilding in peacetime Britain since the 1920s. Their first housing decision was to cut the affordable housing budget by 60%.
Millions of working people can no longer afford to buy the modest homes they want and they are unable to attain an affordable or social home. As a result, eleven million people now rent privately and are paying ever rising rents but have no stability, experience poor standards and face rip-off letting agent fees.
Last year, the lowest number of homes for social rent were built since John Major’s government. And, the number of affordable homes built was 26% lower than in 2009/10. The Government’s “affordable rent” model is anything but affordable to families on low-incomes. As rents have spiralled up, the housing benefit bill is now £1.6bn higher when they took office.
It’s no surprise that home ownership is at a 30 year low. Owner-occupation has fallen from 67.4 per cent to 63.3 per cent in 4 years. There are 205,000 fewer homeowners since 2010.
The number of people buying a home with a mortgage has declined and at 6.9 million households is now lower than the number of households living mortgage-free (7.4 million households) for the first time in over 30 years.
David Cameron claimed that his NewBuy scheme would help 100,000 on to the property ladder, but it has helped less than 6000. A record number of young people in their 20s and 30s now live at home with their parents. Only a third of 25- to 34-year-olds now own their own home, whilst nearly half are renting from a private landlord.
Whilst ever they and their friends are comfortably-housed, Cameron and Clegg will remain complacent about the housing crisis that is consuming ordinary working families.