INSIGHT - Where are the affordable Homes?

14 Feb 2024

Almost 10,000 Social rent homes were lost last year in England.

The country’s housing crisis continues to deepen amid a lack of supply and soaring rents, with evictions and homelessness surging. According to figures recently released by the Department of Levelling Up, Housing, and Communities (DLUHC), a net 9,379 homes for social rent were lost in 2022/23.

Social rent homes – historically known as council houses, though they are no longer solely provided through councils – are already massively oversubscribed. There are 1.2 million people on housing waiting lists across the country and people can languish on these for decades before being offered a home. Last year it was revealed that in 2022 2,300 people had died while on the waiting list.

Social housing used to be the second most common type of home in the UK after home ownership. But following Margaret Thatcher’s Right to Buy policy introduced in 1980, the country has seen a huge sell-off of homes into private ownership.

Extract of Rother Social Housing Search Web Page
Sussex HomeMove Web Site Search Result

These statistics come as the supposed landmark private renters bill, the Renters Reform Bill, has been delayed again, with no update on when one of its key tenets, banning ‘no-fault’ section 21 evictions, will come in. News of the delay coincided with the publication of damning statistics that show the number of these evictions has rocketed by a third in 12 months. Michael Gove on the Laura Kuenssberg programme last Sunday made yet another promise, but will he keep it?

Section 21 evictions are the number one cause of homelessness in the UK and figures released by the Ministry of Justice show 30,230 landlords began section 21 court proceedings in 2023 – a 28% rise on 2022

Liberal Democrats believe in taking action to tackle the housing crisis. We’re calling for significantly more homes to be built every year, including significantly more social homes. The UK simply hasn’t built enough social housing for years, while what we do have, has been sold off without replacement.

Amongst other housing reforms, Liberal Democrats are calling for:

  • A national target for building social homes, aiming for 150,000 a year by the end of the next parliament. With new powers for local authorities to build their own social and affordable housing.
  • A ten year emergency programme to insulate Britain’s homes as well as new standards to ensure new homes are warm, cheap to heat and produce minimal emissions.
  • Introducing a fair deal for renters, including longer default tenancies, rent smoothing over the course of a tenancy and banning no fault evictions.
  • New powers for local authorities to control and manage second homes and holiday lets.
  • Expansion of Neighbourhood Planning, and more democratic engagement in Local Plans.

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