Ministers slated over 'talk but no action' approach to housing
The Government is falling down on its own plans to fix the broken housing market, three leading groups have warned. They say the rhetoric should start being translated into reality.
One of the areas most damningly singled out is the private rented sector, while the report says that ministers have so far fallen down on their promise to ‘Get Britain Building’.
In their third Housing Report, the National Housing Federation, the Chartered Institute of Housing and Shelter say problems such as overcrowding and homelessness are worsening, while more people claim benefits and private rents rise.
The report, which publishes regular updates to track progress – or otherwise – allocates a system of traffic lights.
Red lights go to new homes building, overcrowding, homelessness, housing costs (with more claimants claiming more benefits) and the private rented sector.
Under the red light for ‘housing costs’, the report says: “The Government’s attempts to reduce the benefit bill are in tension with rising rents in the private sector.”
Under the red light for the ‘private rented sector’, it says that ‘progress on widespread affordability remains a distant prospect’. It says that government plans to bring down rents partly through changes to Local Housing Allowance, and to increase supply by encouraging institutional build-to-let, have not yet progressed.
The document gives an amber warning to areas including home ownership, and says that despite reforms, planning has made no progress.
However, it praises efforts to bring empty homes back into use, and also preventative action to curb evictions, repossessions and rent arrears.
But, the report cautions, interest rates are expected to rise, which could place more people at risk of losing their homes.
The three organisations warn that with the housing crisis deepening by the day, the Government must now switch its focus from policy-making to delivery.
Shelter’s chief executive, Campbell Robb, said: “The Government’s commitment to get Britain building is welcome, but so far it simply isn’t delivering the new homes we need.
“Young people and families are finding it impossible to get an affordable home of their own, no matter how hard they work and save. The longer this situation continues, the bigger the problem future generations will face.
“The Government has to step up its game and make sure its rhetoric starts translating into reality.”