Ministers told to up their game to meet housing needs
Government policies 'are failing housing'
The government’s housing policies are failing to mend Britain’s ‘broken housing market’, according to a damning report from three leading housing bodies.
In the second edition of The housing report, published jointly by the Chartered Institute of Housing, the National Housing Federation and Shelter today (17 May), the coalition has been allocated a worse score than it received just seven months ago – despite the launch of its housing strategy in November.
The housing report scores the government on how well it is tackling 10 categories of housing need using a traffic-light system of red, amber and green (see graphic, below). In October it allocated the coalition four red lights, three amber, two greens and one ‘wait and see’. This score has now worsened, with the government given a fifth red light, alongside three ambers and two greens.
It has continued to fail on key policy areas such as housing supply and homelessness where the situation is ‘getting worse’, as well as affordability of the private rented sector, where, contrary to government claims that rents are falling as a result of welfare reforms, the report concludes that rents are rising.
It states that the cuts to local housing allowance ‘have failed to have any significant effect on rent levels’.
The government has received one new ‘red card’ for overcrowding, which was previously a ‘wait and see’, because now that there is sufficient data to score with, it shows the government is ‘failing to tackle this problem’.
Also, social mobility, which was previously a green, has been relegated to amber because ‘progress has stalled’.
‘Ministers will need to significantly up their game to achieve their objective of meeting the nation’s housing needs,’ the report concluded.
However, it has lifted evictions, repossessions and arrears from amber to green because of falling repossessions and mortgage arrears.
A spokesperson for the Communities and Local Government department said: ‘[This] report conveniently ignores how our housing plans are taking centre stage in the economic recovery, getting people into jobs, helping aspiring homeowners and getting Britain building. Far from rents rising, we have seen a real-terms fall in private rents…
‘As a lobbying organisation, it is understandable that the National Housing Federation starts from the perspective that there is an endless pot of money. By the end of this parliament, we will have seen a bigger net increase in homes built than in the 13 years under the previous government.’