Monday, 28 November 2016

Housing failure for the many; merry dancing for the few.

Last week, the Office for Budget Responsibility said that the measures announced in the Autumn Statement will actually further slow housebuilding. It said there will be 13,000 fewer affordable homes over the next five years.

Between 1997 and 2010, the government delivered two million more homes, a million more home-owners and the biggest investment in social housing in a generation. By contrast, the Coalition and Conservative governments’ record on housing is six years of failure on all fronts.

Under Cameron and Clegg, we built fewer homes than under any Prime Minister since 1923. The number of homeowning households fell by 200,000 under their stewardship.

The latest figures reveal that just 141,680 homes were built in the year to September 2016, some 20% lower than the 176,640 built nine years ago. Young people have been hardest hit. The number of under-35s who own their own home is down by 21% since 2010, that’s 344,000 homes.

The number of shared ownership and other low-cost home ownership homes built has fallen by 66% since 2010 to just 7,540 homes last year.

The number of social rented homes started in 2009/10 was almost 40,000, but last year, in 2015/16 was less than 1,000 – a fall of 98%, and the lowest level since records began. The overall number of affordable homes to buy and rent being built has fallen to the lowest level in 24 years.

In 2010, the Cameron and Clegg coalition cut investment in affordable homes by 60%. Nine in ten of the genuinely affordable homes built between 2010 and 2015 were under programmes inherited from the former government.
Similarly, private renters have been failed badly in the last six years. The latest figures show that 29% of private rented homes are ‘non-decent’. Private rents on new lettings have reached an average of almost £900 per month– an annual increase of over £2,000 since 2010.

Despite the concerns about housing standards, the government has opposed proposals to ensure all rented homes are ‘fit for human habitation’ when let and throughout the course of the tenancy.

Now the government is preparing to relax the protections on building in the Green Belt. The big housing developers, who are sitting on record levels of housing land already with planning permission for development and declaring record levels of profit, are dancing with glee.