A report published by APSE and written and researched by the Town and Country Planning Association (TCPA) finds that UK councils are becoming increasingly unable to meet demands for affordable housing and 98% now describe their need as either ‘severe’ or ‘moderate’, with only 1% claiming that their need is not substantial.
The survey of 166 local authorities in Britain highlights the pressure on councils to meet the growing demand for affordable housing due to a lack of new homes being built and that many of those that are being built are not affordable to those in need.
The research highlights the cumulative impact of existing housing and planning policies in England — such as the 1 per cent annual rent reductions in the social rented sector and the continued deregulation and reform of the planning system — have reduced the ability of councils to secure genuinely affordable homes available for social rent.
Kate Henderson, Chief Executive of the TCPA, said, “Our research reveals that Britain is facing an acute housing crisis with councils across the country increasingly unable to meet the need for affordable housing.
“The incoming government must make tackling the housing crisis a priority. An ambition to increase housing numbers is not enough, we need to ensure that the homes that are built are affordable and well designed.”
By exploring a range of issues faced by councils, this study has identified how local authorities are already taking a more active role in housing delivery through entrepreneurial approaches, such as setting up local housing companies and innovative approaches to partnership working. Over two thirds (69%) of councils surveyed said that they already had or were thinking about setting up a local authority housing company either on their own or in partnership.
Paul O’Brien, Chief Executive of APSE said, “Whilst the general election had been pitched as the Brexit election the political narrative can’t ignore the housing crisis that we face across the UK.
“A new wave of council homes would help support local economic growth, jobs and skills in our economy; housing could be an effective driver for a renewed industrial strategy but to achieve this we need to place local councils at the heart of delivery on housing need. That means the future Government of whatever political make-up must provide the financial freedoms and flexibility for councils to deliver solutions to our chronic housing shortage”
The report, Building homes, creating communities: Ensuring councils provide innovative solutions to meeting housing need, has been released to coincide with the upcoming election and makes 15 recommendations to the incoming government, including a call for investment in building new homes available for social rent to house Britain’s ‘essential’ low-paid workers.
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