A growing housing crisis is revealed in a recent study by the National Housing Federation, NHF.
“Today’s research reveals the full
enormity of the housing crisis,” said Kate Henderson, the chief executive of
“It is the single biggest domestic issue we face. From Cornwall to Cumbria, millions of people are being pushed into debt and poverty because rent is too expensive. Children can’t study because they have no space in their overcrowded homes, and many older or disabled people are struggling to move around their own home because it’s unsuitable.”
Families on housing benefit are priced out of almost every home on the market.
to analysis of private rental listings, more than 93% of family homes are
unaffordable To LHA, local housing allowance claimants.
NHF found some towns had just one affordable property available. They warned the
government’s benefits freeze is “pushing low-income families to the brink”.
NHF analysed 75,000 private rental adverts across every postcode in England and
found LHA could cover the cost of only 7.5 per cent of them.
Family homes, with two or more bedrooms, were even less affordable. Only 6.5% were within the budget of households in receipt of the benefit. In some areas less than 1% of homes were within the budget of households on LHA.
More than 8 million people are living in unsuitable housing in England.
The analysis suggests the scale of the housing crisis could be far worse than officially estimated. 8 million people is equivalent to the population of London.
The NHF commissioned Heriot-Watt
University in Edinburgh to do the research. It suggests the lives of one in
eight people in England are now negatively affected by years of fast-rising
prices and missed house-building targets.
The research also shows that 3.6
million people are living in overcrowded homes. 2.5 million cannot properly afford where they
live. Another 2.5 million living with parents or relatives against their wishes
and almost 1.4 million are living in poor or substandard housing conditions.
This adds up to almost twice the number of people currently considered to be in need of housing on official waiting lists.
The research shows double the number currently on official housing lists in need of housing.
It is not just families and young
people needing housing. Couples are
forced to live together despite their relationship having broken down.
Then there are the so called ‘boomerang’ adults. Adults who return to their parents because they cannot afford to buy or rent or have been made homeless.
340,000 new homes needed each year.
The NHF said England needed 340,000
new homes a year to tackle the problem.
The last time that had happened was
in 1968 during Harold Wilson’s premiership. In the year to March 2019, 169,770
new homes were built in England.
The Ministry of Housing, Communities
and Local Government responded that housing was a priority and said:
“Last year we built more homes than
in all but one of the last 31 years.” However, that was only true for England,
and across the UK the latest figures for 2017-18 show that eight years since
1987 had higher output.
Only one in six new homes being built
are affordable homes for rent, despite it being the market sector the majority
of analysts believe is in most need of urgent supply.
The ministry said 2,440 council houses had been built between 2010-11 and 2017-18, a drop in the ocean compared to the NHF’s estimate that 90,000 new council homes are needed every year for the next decade to help end the crisis.
A housing ministry spokesperson said:
“Since 2010 we’ve delivered 430,000
affordable homes. And to protect renters
we’ve cracked down on rogue landlords, banned unfair fees and capped
deposits. Saving at least £240m a year,
helping to ensure access to safe and secure housing for millions.”
Responding for Labour, the former
housing minister John Healey said:
“Deep cuts to housing investment since 2010 mean the country is now building 30,000 fewer social rented homes each year than we were with Labour.”
Kate Henderson, chief executive of the NHF, said:
families in England are being punished two-fold. No longer able to access
social housing because of the dire shortage of it, they now can’t access enough
housing benefit to rent privately either.
“The crippling effects of the housing crisis and significant cuts to benefits have forced thousands of parents into impossible situations in order to keep a roof over their children’s heads, many having to choose between crippling debt, overcrowding or Homelessness.”
Some of the worst shortages.
worst shortages were in Huntingdon in Cambridgeshire, Thanet in Essex, and
Stevenage in Hertfordshire, which each had only one home within the budget of
people on LHA.
had three, Milton Keynes had four, and Peterborough had six – all equivalent to
less than 1 per cent of the private rental homes on the market in each area.
Neate, chief executive of housing charity Shelter said families were “living in
misery because housing benefit is not doing its job”.
which varies depending on region and house size, was designed to cover the
cheapest 30 per cent of local market rents. But the allowance was frozen for
four years in 2016 as part of government austerity policies, while rent has
continued to climb.
four-year freeze has left it lagging dangerously behind the actual cost of
private rents in this country,” continued Ms Neate.
“Every day on the ground, Shelter’s staff see the impacts of housing benefit falling short, with families unable to afford basics like food and heating.”
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