17 May 2012

Government ‘failing’ on housing targets – report

Housing groups call on the government to do more after publishing their second Housing Report which finds it is failing in five out of 10 key issues.

A man walks past boarded up houses in Burnely (Reuters)

The National Housing Federation, the homelessness charity Shelter and the Chartered Institute of Housing say more new homes must be built to tackle “the country’s burgeoning housing crisis”.

It urged the coalition to “get Britain building” to provide thousands of much-needed homes, with the benefit of stimulating the economy. The report found that affordability of the rented sector, help with housing costs, homelessness, the housing supply and overcrowding were getting worse.

This is despite efforts by the coalition to encourage more home building in conjunction with boosting lending by financial institutions.


The study found no change in the issues of home ownership, mobility and planning, while there were improvements in empty homes and “evictions, repossessions and arrears”.

After publishing the findings, the authors said: “The government is falling well short in tackling the country’s burgeoning housing crisis”. David Orr, chief executive of the National Housing Federation, which represents housing associations, said: “Much more needs to be done to tackle this country’s dire housing crisis.

“Unless we build significantly more homes, it will only get worse. Building new homes will help fix our broken housing market and, with rising unemployment and living costs, spur economic growth by creating jobs and supporting small businesses.

“It’s a win/win for the taxpayer and for the millions stuck on waiting lists.”

The National Housing Federation has warned for some time that the UK is heading towards an “unprecendented” housing crisis.


Kay Boycott, director of communications, policy and campaigns at Shelter, said: “Every day Shelter sees families up and down the country whose lives are being torn apart by the shortage of affordable homes.

“This government has had two years to start delivering on housing, yet this report paints a pretty bleak picture of its current record on housing in all its forms.

“We must now see progress made on the commitments outlined in November’s Housing Strategy and bolder action taken to make sure families across the country can find a decent place to call home.”

Grainia Long, chief executive of the Chartered Institute of Housing, said: “The Housing Report shows the government’s progress in addressing our national housing crisis is limited.

“With the economy now in double dip recession, the pressures on the housing system will only increase and the government needs to step up its efforts in response and be more ambitious in its strategy to boost housing supply and activity in the wider housing sector.

“Addressing the housing crisis in this way would also be a much-needed and powerful stimulus to economic growth.”