IPPR: Localism Act limited and half-hearted
A decentralised housing policy is needed to solve England’s housing crisis, a report due to be published next week by the Institute for Public Policy Research will argue.
Speaking at the Chartered Institute of Housing’s Conference in Manchester, Andy Hull, senior research fellow at the think tank, said: ‘The government’s Localism Act is limited and half-hearted.’
‘A one-size fits all approach doesn’t work. We are not going to find a national solution to a local housing problem,’ he added.
The IPPR’s report, entitled Together at home: a new housing strategy for England, will present numerous innovative ideas for ways to increase levels of house building.
One of the ideas put forward will be a move away from spending on housing benefit and towards housing subsidy. If more money was invested in house building, housing benefit payments would be reduced.
‘During this spending review period £95 billion will be spent on housing benefit and £5 billion on new homes. In the 1970s it was the exact reverse,’ said Mr Hull.
Mr Hull, who is also a councillor for Islington Council, also argued that public spending on housing benefit payments would be reduced if local authorities were given control over benefit payments.
This seems to be the opposite approach to that taken under Universal Credit, the single streamlined payment of all working age benefits that the government plans to introduce next October.
‘As a local councillor in Islington in my spare time housing benefit does not come out of my budget,’ said Mr Hull. ‘If it did, there may be more incentive for me to help people into employment.’