The UK’s affordable housing gap could grow to 500,000 homes by 2025 if urgent action is not taken, a new report has stated.
The Affordable Housing Commission report says that if the UK doesn’t take action to increase its affordable housing supply, the gulf between housing need and low-cost housing supply will widen.
“More households will have no choice but to live in the private-rented sector, which as the Commission’s work has shown, is ill suited to housing low-income households,” the report states.
The Affordable Housing Commission has published a 12-point plan for the housing sector’s recovery from the effects of COVID-19 pandemic.
The plan’s recommendation are as follows:
- Increase investment in a scaled-up and fast tracked social and affordable housing programme, with grant rates returning at least to 2010 levels
- Establish a new ‘Housing Conversion Fund’ to help social landlords and community organisations acquire developers’ unsold homes, and to buy rented properties from over-stretched buy-to-let landlords, down-at-heel PRS properties, and empty homes
- Reform the land market, based on recommendations from the Letwin Review to get homes built out faster and to ‘capture’ land value for social benefit
- Enable councils to take back control over Permitted Development Rights
- Replace the unaffordable ‘Affordable Rent’ model with more social renting
- Make discounted ‘First Homes’ additional to, not replacements for, planning gain obligations for affordable renting
- Reform and extend Help to Buy to existing properties, targeted at helping lower income first-time buyers
- Give councils full discretion over Right to Buy discount levels and the opportunity to recycle
100% of sales proceeds into new social rented homes
- Strengthen the safety net for renters who struggle with housing costs, including reviewing eviction protection, sustaining changes to local housing allowances, and reforming Universal Credit
- Cap annual rent increases in the private-rented sector to an index of income growth for a fixed period (as proposed in Scotland), alongside ending Section 21 ‘no-fault’ evictions
- Protect homeowners by reducing delays before payment of Support with Mortgage (SMI) Interest and making the SMI a grant, not a loan
- Set a target to provide affordable housing opportunities for all by 2045, based on a new definition of affordability which relates to incomes not market prices
Affordable-homes need “even greater”
Lord Richard Best, chair of the Affordable Housing Commission, said: “A recovery plan, with a focus on social rented and affordable housing, will encourage jobs and growth and rebalance the housing system so it is fit for purpose post COVID-19.
“As people face reduced incomes and potential unemployment the need for truly affordable social rented homes becomes even greater.”
Lord Best added: “With a weaker housing market and millions of renters under housing stress this is the moment for the social housing sector to step in, maintain the impetus for the construction industry and pick up the opportunities for growth.”
“With decisive action from government now, there could be a big step forward in easing the affordable housing crisis.”
The Commission’s latest report takes forward recommendations it made in its Making Housing Affordable Again report, which it published in March.
That report made over 50 recommendations to tackle the affordable housing gap in the UK, including ensuring affordable housing opportunities for all by 2045, as mentioned in today’s report.
A spokeswoman for the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) said: “Since 2010, this government has delivered over 464,000 new affordable homes, including 114,000 social homes.
“Last year, we delivered more homes than any year in the last 30 years and have committed to delivering a million more in this parliament.”