The Tories’ Green Paper on Social Housing has been harshly criticised by both left and right of the political spectrum.
The Financial Times said: “Successive UK governments have tinkered with housing policy without fundamental change. At times what change there has been has made matters worse (1).”
It adds: “There are more than 1 million people on the waiting list for council housing and, according to the charity Shelter, 300,000 people without homes.”
Ben Chu of The Independent agrees with the 1 million statistic and says:
“Despite colossal pent-up demand – more than a million households have been on social housing waiting lists for at least a decade – the coalition deliberately ran down construction rates of homes for social rent. The Conservatives, governing alone, have carried on with the policy since 2015 (2).”
He lambasts Kit Malthouse, the new housing minister: “[Kit Malthouse] admitted this morning that the annual supply of new social rent housing by 2021 is not likely to rise above 12,500.”
No new state money for social rent homes
The FT notes: “There is no new state money for housebuilding.”
The FT continues: “The lack of subsidy for construction means that sub-market-priced housing will continue to be subsidised through rents in the inefficient form of housing benefits. So the state will be paying off the mortgages of private landlords rather than investing in the construction of an asset owned either by the state or a non-profit landlord.”
Only 11% of Housing Association construction is social rent housing
Where are the Housing Associations on construction of social rent housing?
Well, according to the National Housing Federation – the association for housing associations – they built 41,556 new homes in 2017/2018, of which only 4,502 were for social rent (3).
So that means that about 89% of homes constructed by housing associations were out-of-reach ‘affordable rent’, market rent, or for sale.
Only 2% of development pipeline was for social rent homes
To give an example.
Genesis Housing Association (now merged with Notting Hill) has just published its annual accounts and they say they have built only 6 new social rent homes in 2017/2018.
So that is a very racy 2% of their 239 completed homes for this year!
The rest were Market Rent, Shared Ownership, unaffordable ’Affordable’ Rent (80% of market rent) and for sale.
Well done to NHG’s millionaire Chair! And well done their CEO, who celebrated a private book launch with lavish drinks and nibbles for her mates on 14 June.
Ah yes. 14 June. This date just happened to have been the day in which people across the country commemorated the appalling Grenfell disaster.
This government – ably supported by the Board and Management of the morally bankrupt housing associations – will carry on as normal, trying to ignore the housing crisis.
It is up to us to make the change.
See Genesis Residents website for information about becoming a member