Planning and Housing

19.02.18

Fixing the broken housing market

Joe Anderson, mayor of Liverpool and leader of Liverpool City Council, discusses how the authority’s newly formed company Foundations is working to improve the state of housing in the region.

It’s hardly surprising that for the first time since the slum clearances in the 1950s and 1960s there is palpable public anger at the state we’re in, and housing is, once again, a major political issue. After all, there are 250,000 people homeless nationwide, while 1.2 million families linger on the housing waiting lists.

We now have full-spectrum housing market failure in this country. The yawning gap between those who own their homes and those who do not is the legacy of too much short-termism and successive governments veering headlong into a series of cul-de-sacs.

As a result, we are in a perfect storm where low wages, job insecurity, short-term private sector tenancies, rip-off rents and housing benefit caps are conspiring to actively damage the life chances of young people and those, such as divorced people, who cannot re-establish a foothold on the housing ladder.

The market has failed to deliver what previous generations took for granted; namely that home-ownership was a realisable ambition for people who work hard and play by the rules.

This assumption no longer holds. But rather than resign ourselves to this sad state of affairs, there are things councils can do to fix this broken market. Although we have lost two-thirds of our government funding since 2010 (£470m), we have still managed to increase the range and choice of housing in the city over the last few years by building, or renovating, around 10,000 properties.

Through an innovative partnership with a developer we are delivering private homes that cross-subsidise social housing alongside our innovative ‘Homes for a Pound’ scheme, which is bringing derelict void properties back into use, providing housing for first-time buyers.

We have also pioneered landlord licensing, which has helped raise standards in the private rented sector in order to purge the modern-day Rachmans and support better conditions for tenants.

A better blend of properties

But we can still do more. In the New Year, we created a new housing company, called Foundations, which aims to radically reshape our local housing market.

Liverpool needs between 24,000 and 27,000 houses by 2030. Crucially, we need a better blend of properties, given our inheritance of too many older, smaller terraced houses (which helps account for our low-yield council tax base).

The company will build homes both for rent and sale, across the full range ‒ from starter to executive homes. It will also buy-up and refurbish older homes to help make a difference to the supply of houses quickly. The company will also pioneer shared ownership and act as an ethical landlord, driving up standards in the sector.

Run by an independent board and commissioning private developers and RSLs, our aim is to deliver 10,000 properties by 2030. The initial funding comes via the city council and will utilise existing council land and property assets. Our projection is that the company will help to create 5,000 jobs over the next decade.

As well as correcting failures in the market, our new housing company will also help us to manage demand for public services. Our vision is that some of the homes built will be occupied by foster carers, helping us manage down the costs of housing children outside the city. We will also be able to be more strategic in providing the quantity of suitable homes we need for elderly and disabled people.

The scale of the issue we face around meeting future housing need is massive and complex, so our response must be equal to it. Local authorities have a duty to intervene where market failure is causing misery locally. We are often limited in the scale of intervention we can make ‒ a decade of austerity and Whitehall string-pulling has seen to that.

But housing is too important to leave to the iniquities of the free market. Where we can act, we should.

FOR MORE INFORMATION

W: www.liverpool.gov.uk

Comments

Angry   21/02/2018 at 20:32

More redrow collusion no doubt, we don't need more executive homes at 500k plus in public parks........

Add your comment

 

related

public sector executive tv

more videos >

latest public sector news

Midlands council saved £1.5m through combatting tenancy fraud

21/06/2018Midlands council saved £1.5m through combatting tenancy fraud

Tenancy fraud cost Solihull Council almost £1.58m last year, according to recent figures. A report presented to the council’s audit ... more >
Local government funding cuts threaten half of bus routes

21/06/2018Local government funding cuts threaten half of bus routes

Almost half of all bus routes in England are under threat due to partial or incomplete subsidies from councils, the Local Government Association (L... more >
London council demands credit card details by email

21/06/2018London council demands credit card details by email

A London council is reviewing its data protection precautions after it was revealed that residents were told to share payment card detail via email... more >

editor's comment

25/10/2017Take a moment to celebrate

Devolution, restructuring and widespread service reform: from a journalist’s perspective, it’s never been a more exciting time to report on the public sector. That’s why I could not be more thrilled to be taking over the reins at PSE at this key juncture. There could not be a feature that more perfectly encapsulates this... read more >

last word

The importance of openness after Grenfell

The importance of openness after Grenfell

Following the recent Grenfell Tower tragedy, Lord Porter, chairman of the LGA, argues that if the public are going to have faith in the safety testing process then everything must be out in the o... more > more last word articles >
Midlands council saved £1.5m through combatting tenancy fraud

21/06/2018Midlands council saved £1.5m through combatting tenancy fraud

Tenancy fraud cost Solihull Council almost £1.58m last year, according to recent figures. A report presented to the council’s audit committee revealed that, since April 2017, 17 coun... more >
Local government funding cuts threaten half of bus routes

21/06/2018Local government funding cuts threaten half of bus routes

Almost half of all bus routes in England are under threat due to partial or incomplete subsidies from councils, the Local Government Association (LGA) has warned. According to the LGA, ongoing f... more >

the raven's daily blog

The work of the vanguards can help overcome the challenges of integrated care

29/05/2018The work of the vanguards can help overcome the challenges of integrated care

Following the announcement of the second wave of integrated care systems (ICSs), NHS Providers, the NHS Confederation, NHS Clinical Commissioners (NHSCC) and the LGA reflect on how lessons learnt by members from across the four organisations – that have designed and worked together as part of the vanguards – will support the j... more >
read more blog posts from 'the raven' >

comment

Grenfell, one year on

18/06/2018Grenfell, one year on

In the year since the Grenfell Tower disaster, the LGA has been working tirelessly to ramp up fire safety regulations and ban ‘desktop&rsqu... more >
Brexit's long shadow over devolution

18/06/2018Brexit's long shadow over devolution

The EU Referendum and the stop-start Brexit negotiations have left a looming shadow of uncertainty over devolution in the UK, writes Anthony Sala... more >
Decisions, decisions

18/06/2018Decisions, decisions

The true social value of procurement comes from asking challenging questions and thinking outside the box, argues Melissa Bell, sustainable procu... more >
Finding the balance

18/06/2018Finding the balance

Douglas White, head of advocacy at the Carnegie UK Trust, evaluates the risk-benefit relationship of data sharing within the public sector, highl... more >

interviews

Data at the heart of digital transformation

03/04/2018Data at the heart of digital transformation

SPONSORED INTERVIEW Grant Caley, UK & Ireland chief technologist at NetApp, speaks to PSE’s Luana Salles about the benefits of movin... more >
GDPR: The public sector scarecrow

03/04/2018GDPR: The public sector scarecrow

SPONSORED INTERVIEW PSE’s Josh Mines chats to Martin de Martini, CIO of Y Soft, about what the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)... more >
Keeping London safe

05/03/2018Keeping London safe

Theo Blackwell, London’s first-ever chief digital officer (CDO), speaks to PSE’s Luana Salles about the role he plays in ensuring the... more >
BIM: Digitising the public sector

19/02/2018BIM: Digitising the public sector

PSE’s Josh Mines talks to Stephen Crompton, CTO at GroupBC, and Stuart Bell, the company’s sales and marketing director, about how Bu... more >

public sector focus

View all News