Report highlights government's lack of progress on housing

Row of houses
Published on Thursday, 15 November 2012 09:32
Written by Vicki Mitchem

Half way through the parliamentary term the coalition government is failing to fix Britain's broken housing market, leading housing groups warn today.

In their third 'Housing Report' the National Housing Federation, Shelter and The Chartered Institute of Housing say overcrowding, homelessness, housing costs and affordability in the private rental market are all getting worse, reflecting the rising numbers of people struggling to keep a roof over their head.

In four other areas including housing supply, planning and homeownership the report says the government has made 'no progress'. Despite a stream of initiatives aimed at getting the housing market moving house building remains at historic lows.

Efforts to bring empty homes back into use and preventative action to curb evictions, repossessions and rent arrears are praised, however the report cautions that interest rates are expected to rise, which could place more people at risk of losing their homes.

The three organisations are warning that with Britain's housing crisis deepening by the day, the government must now switch its focus from policy-making to delivery to ensure that more new, affordable homes are built.

Shelter's chief executive Campbell Robb said: "The government's commitment to get Britain building is welcome, but so far it simply isn't delivering the new homes we need.

"Young people and families are finding it impossible to get an affordable home of their own, no matter how hard they work and save. The longer this situation continues, the bigger the problem future generations will face. The government has to step up its game and make sure its rhetoric starts translating into reality."

David Orr, chief executive of the National Housing Federation said: "It has been a whole year since the government promised it would 'Get Britain Building' again in the Housing Strategy. We have the words and the policies but we've not had delivery.

After years of chronic undersupply of new homes we have millions of families now struggling to keep on top of their rising rents and priced out of the housing market. This cannot continue; we're running out of time to fix our broken housing market and need to address the causes of rising housing costs, not just the symptoms. We need delivery, and we need it now."

Grainia Long, chief executive at the Chartered Institute of Housing said: "The case for investing in housing is well accepted by the government, which is reflected in recent policy announcements on growth.

"But funding and policy are only part of the story.  Unless this translates into delivery of new homes or regeneration of empty homes then we won't be able to house the 5 million additional households likely to be created within the next two decades.

"Our housing system is in crisis which demands that government redouble its efforts to ensure that we see the delivery on the ground that is so desperately needed."

Source: ©NHF

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