We can solve the UK’s housing crisis – with a little imagination is a piece in the ‘Guardian’
Housebuilding, housebuilding, housebuilding. Last year, Theresa May pledged to make “the British dream a reality by reigniting home ownership in Britain once again”, and insisted she was taking “personal charge” of the effort to solve the country’s housing problems. Not long after, the chancellor, Philip Hammond, promised to eventually ensure the construction of 300,000 new homes a year. And fair play to the government, perhaps: in 2016- 2017, 184,000 new homes were built in England – the highest figure since the crash of 2007-8, and possible proof that the prime minister’s dream of a country building “more homes, more quickly” was starting to be realised.
Unfortunately, there are a lot of holes in this vision – not least the Tories’ underlying belief that the only homes worth talking about should be privately bought and sold, reflected in the paltry amount of supposedly social housing added to England’s stock in the same period: 5,380 dwellings for “social rent”, 24,350 for “affordable rent” and 11,810 classed as “intermediate affordable”
As usual the article mentions the 300,000 target which is an incorrect one. 170,000 a year would suffice. The article does however refer to the problem of the type of housing on offer. Only 16% were for social or affordable rent and as the article points out ‘affordable’ is often not affordable. What is needed is to bump up the proportion of those for social rent and actually affordable and at the same time restrict luxury and second/holiday home numbers!