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Tory leaders worry £2bn housing pledge not enough

The government will not deliver enough low-cost rented homes, Tory council leaders have warned.

In a poll conducted for the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF), 71% of Conservative councillors surveyed expressed concerns that the government’s pledge of an additional £2bn for affordable housing will not be enough to meet the needs of their constituents.

The survey also revealed that, for most local leaders, the supply of low-cost rented homes is a top priority, with 96% of councillors arguing that the Social Housing Green Paper, expected in the next few months, must address this as part of its comprehensive review of affordable housing in England.

Campbell Robb, chief executive of JRF, said that millions of people are “locked out of being able to achieve a decent standard of living due to crippling rents.”

He continued: “There is widespread consensus in every region, every political party and across the entire housing sector that we need significantly more investment in low-cost rented housing.

“Though, we are yet to see action from the government on the scale required to tackle the housing crisis facing millions of people across England.”

Lord Gary Porter, Conservative councillor, leader of South Holland District Council, and Conservative member of the House of Lords, welcomed the research, which he called “an important contribution to the debate on the future of social housing.”

He said that although the Prime Minister has made it clear that building more rental homes is a key priority, delivering an average of 300,000 homes a year by the mid-2020s, the last time the country built more than 250,000 homes a year councils built 40% of them.

“If local government is to play our role in meeting these ambitious targets we need to be given greater freedom to build new homes.

“Housebuilding by councils at scale would boost local economies and productivity, reduce housing benefit spending and homelessness, put Right to Buy on a sustainable footing, and create revenue generating assets for communities,” Lord Porter continued.

He concluded: “Last autumn’s budget saw a positive step in that direction when the Chancellor lifted the housing borrowing cap for councils in areas of high affordability pressure. Whilst welcoming this announcement we have consistently called for the cap to be lifted for all councils.

“Doing so would spark a renaissance in house building, allowing us in local government to do our bit to help address the housing crisis.”

JRF is calling on the government to deliver at least 80,000 low-cost rented homes in England each year in order to redesign the housing market so that it works for everyone.

Top image: Ortakcioglu


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