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3 Million New Social Houses Needed by 2040

According to a cross-party commission, the UK will need 3 million more social homes by 2040.

The report, which was commissioned by housing charity Shelter, says that the UK needs more social housing than it did at the end of the Second World War, which is worrying given that an earlier report claimed that this decade could be the worst one for housebuilding since the 1940s.

The high-profile commission is urging the government to initiate an intesnive 20-year social housing development programme.

In addition to building more homes, Shelter wants the government to extend the eligibility criteria for social housing to include 700,000 older people and 1.2 million young people who can only rent privately. It is also asking that housing be placed on a par with education and health.

Cllr Martin Tett, the Local Government Association Housing spokesman, said that there is a pressing need to address the housing crisis. Doing so represents major benefits for the economy, communities, and individual families. It has been estimated that investing in a new generation of  social housing developments could represent a return of £320 billion over 50 years.

Mr. Tett said that a council housebuilding renaissance can enable the longterm reforms that will eradicate homelessness and remove the insecurities surrounding housing for current and future generations.

He added that each housing market is different and meeting the challenge will require every council to ensure that all social housing meets local need. Councils need to be allowed to keep all of their Right to Buy receipts and create local discounts.

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The commission is also calling for:

  • Tenants having more say over what happens in their buildings
  • Replacing any social housing that is sold
  • Building ‘tenure-blind’ social housing that enjoys the same standard as private housing

National Housing Federation Chief Executive Kate Henderson said that the Shelter report is a landmark one. She is encouraged by the confirmation of strong public support for social housing development. The report also supports the growing consensus that there needs to be a long-term investment programme for social housing.

Ms. Henderson said that the report confirmed that social housing is a wise investment that will pay for itself in the long-term. She added that there needs to be a fundamental change in the way that land is bought and sold, so that it is more affordable for those who want to build social housing. Only then will there be enough homes available for everyone at a price that they can afford.

The report recommends a more balanced relationship between tenants and housing associations. Ms. Henderson said the National Housing Federation (NHF) supported this goal and has been working with members and tenants to make housing associations trusted, responsive, and accountable.

She added that the NHF also supported the creation of a national voice for UK tenants and is now looking forward to working with Shelter and others to keep advocating for much-needed social housing.

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