New inquiry for the long-term delivery of social and affordable rented housing

One of the major issues that we face across the country, is the current situation that the housing sector finds itself, especially the social and affordable housing sector. This is not something that will just fix itself overnight or simply go away. Action needs to be taken.

Cross Street Housing Opening

(The opening of the Little Cross Street Development in Northampton)

I have the privilege of sitting on the Housing, Communities and Local Government Select Committee (HCLG) which has just launched a new inquiry to examine the long-term delivery of social and affordable rented housing. I hope that the inquiry will help to identify what areas we can make improvements and deliver better and more affordable housing for everyone.

Cross Street Project

(The Project Manager outside the building of Little Cross Street Council homes)

The Government has set a target of delivering 300,000 new homes per year by mid-2020. However, current expectations mean that as little as 3% of this target could be social homes built by local authorities. Housing charity Shelter has warned that over 3 million new social home would need to be built over a 20-year period to address social housing need. Amounting to 150,000 new social homes per year this is significantly higher than the Government’s current plans.

"I have the privilege of sitting on the Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee (HCLG) which has just launched a new inquiry to examine the long-term delivery of social and affordable rented housing. I hope that the inquiry will help to identify what areas we can make improvements and deliver better and more affordable housing for everyone."

The new inquiry will investigate the effectiveness of the Government’s current strategies to boost social and affordable rented housing provision. This will include the adequacy of funding levels, as well as programmes and incentives for key stakeholders, such as local authorities and housing associations, to stimulate delivery. The Committee will also look at the challenges facing different areas of the country and consider what lessons can be learnt from successful schemes in other countries. I think that we can learn from other models in countries and places that have made successes of their housing problems.

Cross Street Scaffolding

 

Launching the inquiry, my colleague and Committee Chair Clive Betts MP said: “Over the last decade the construction of new social and affordable rented homes has stagnated.The number of new homes built in this sector has slowed to a trickle of a few thousand a year, while at the same time demand becomes greater and greater." 

The Government has accepted that there needs to be much more new housing built each year, but it is possible that only 3% of its target of 300,000 new homes a year will be social homes built by local authorities. We have launched this new inquiry to understand how effective the Government’s current housing strategy will be in meeting demand for social housing in the long term. We will examine how far current funding levels will promote new building projects, and what more can be done to encourage local authorities and housing associations to increase provision.

Cross Street Finished

Social housing has been left to drift for too long and we must ensure that there are coherent long-term strategies to remedy this. 

The Committee is inviting submissions on:

• How can the Government ensure the sustainable delivery of social and affordable rented housing to meet long-term need and contribute to the Government’s overall house-building targets.

• What levels of central government funding will be required to support this delivery over the next 10 years. 

• How effective existing government incentives and programmes are and what further incentives should the Government provide to key stakeholders to stimulate delivery.

• Are supply subsidies the best way of supporting delivery, or should other approaches be considered?

• What the role of

(a) local authorities – as enablers and providers,

(b) Homes England

(c) housing associations and

(d) other providers should be in that long-term delivery.

• How does the Government ensure long-term provision (

a) meet the needs of tenants and

(b) is adequately regulated.

• How can the Government’s approach to delivery best meet the different needs of individual regions and area.

• What lessons can be learned from alternative approaches to social and affordable rented housing delivery in other countries and jurisdictions.