Centre for Social Justice report: How can the UK increase supply of affordable homes?

October 27th, 2018

Visionary Finance joins with the Centre for Social Justice (CSJ) to look at how the UK can increase the supply of truly affordable homes.

The Centre for Social Justice has published a new report ‘a social justice housing strategy’ which calls on the Government to increase the supply of truly affordable homes.

The report, which was sponsored by Visionary Finance, points to the failure by multiple governments to build social housing. It warns the failure will send the cost of housing benefit soaring to over £70 billion a year by 2050 unless action is taken urgently.

Visionary Finance engaged with the report early this year to help explore how the housing market can develop more of a mix of affordable options. While not all of the report’s recommendations reflect the views of the company, many including: allowing Councils to retain 100 per cent of the receipts generated by Right to Buy sales on the condition that these are reinvested within three years, and allowing developments beyond London to be fast tracked if they offer 35% or above affordable housing, are eminently sensible additions to the debate.

Hiten Ganatra, Managing Director of Visionary Finance said: “I congratulate the Centre for Social Justice for their well-researched report. I believe it is a very helpful addition to the on-going national debate about how we deliver truly affordable homes.

“There is, of course, no one answer to the housing challenges we face. Solutions will differ from region to region and need to be specific to all different demographics. But there is a significant role for Local Authorities to play and the Government needs to do more, now, to create an environment where they are more free to build.”

Andy Cook, chief executive of the Centre for Social Justice commented: “The drastic reduction in the supply of new council homes over the decades has had devastating consequences for both the taxpayer and the lowest earners to struggle to meet the cost of rent.

“At the moment billions of pounds are being ploughed into subsidising rents but too little is being done to boost the supply. As a result, fewer than 6,000 social rented homes were built in 2016, down from almost 40,000 in 2011.

“Housing has become one of the most urgent political issues of our time, but often the difficulty for the middle classes to get on the property ladder deflects focus from those for who struggle to meet the growing cost of rent.

“Rather than subsidising more so-called ‘affordable’ housing for middle earners, we need to focus on the construction of social housing for those on the lowest incomes, while also ensuring that these become a springboard to homeownership.

“The alternative is an eye-watering bill for the taxpayer and no alleviation of the misery of ever-rising rents for those at the bottom.”