Housing Crisis – Political Crisis

A number of reports and research papers have determined that a shortage of affordable homes means record numbers of homeless people are living in temporary accommodation in Britain, which is now costing the taxpayer £1.1 billion a year. This equates to the same amount of money the government has failed to spend on taxpayer allocated money for affordable housing.

 

Theresa May is blaming local councils of not releasing land for building to deflect accusations that Housing Secretary Sajid Javid failed to spend the exact same amount of £1.1 billion allocated for affordable housing.

It has been discovered that hundreds of millions of taxpayer funded allocated money was not spent on affordable housing over the last few years and that Javid’s department had even surrendered £379m back to the treasury for the government’s flagship Starter Homes schemes and £292 million allocated for desperately-needed affordable homes.

Research by The Mirror obtained figures through Freedom of Information requests to 380 councils found that £1.1billion was spent on putting homeless families in temporary accommodation last year.

The average rise – from the 270 councils who responded – was 45%.

Government figures show there were 79,190 households in temporary accommodation just at the end of September 2017. They include 121,360 children, a 63% rise since March 2010. In the same period of time, rough sleeping has increased 130 per cent.

Sajid Javid admitted £817million of his budget had been sent back to the Treasury as his department had failed to spend the cash and even admitted in one case where £72million set aside to build affordable homes was sent back to the treasury because it was “no longer required.”

In 2016-17, just 41,530 affordable homes were built, the second lowest figure built for a decade.

 

However, the number of cheaper, “social rent” houses built each year has plummeted from 39,560 in 2010-11 – the year the new “affordable rent” definition was introduced – to just 5,380 last year.

 

‘Affordable rent’ means where the monthly rent is set at up to 80% of private market rent, which completely masks the real figures of what really is affordable in the first place, especially in more expensive places like towns and cities where the housing crisis is more acute.

To make matters worse, in eight of London’s 33 boroughs, not a single home on sale qualified for the government’s Help to Buy scheme at the beginning of 2018. This meant there were no new builds worth less than £600,000 up for sale in Camden, Hackney, Hammersmith, Islington, Kensington and Chelsea, Lambeth, Tower Hamlets or Westminster at that time. Across the whole of the capital, just 603 homes qualified for the scheme.

A report by the Chartered Institute of Housing found that new housing supply continues to fall behind new household growth across Great Britain and that an overwhelming emphasis on support for the private market, taking 79% of the total of government support demonstrated only that the government was not committed to helping the crisis in any tangible way.

The statistics from the EQUITY Research Centre ‘Facts and Figures‘ database, when viewed collectively, is pretty alarming. It shows that the crisis has continued to build year on year to the point that a full blown political crisis is emerging.

The one question on many minds will surely be that if the government cannot even house their own citizens, a basic and fundamental duty of government, what are they there for.