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England’s housing backlog now at four million, according to new research

New research published today (May 18), has shed light on the true scale of the housing crisis in England.

The research, conducted by Heriot-Watt University and commisioned by the National Housing Foundation and Crisis, shows that England’s total housing need backlog has reached four million homes.

 

It says that a new housing settlement is needed to address this shortage, which would aim to provide a home for everyone who currently needs one, including homeless people, private tenants spending huge amounts on rent, children unable to leave the family home, and even couples delaying having children because they are stuck in unsuitable housing.

To both meet this backlog and provide for future demand, the report says the country needs to build 340,000 homes per year until 2031. This is significantly higher than current estimates (including the Government’s target of 300,000 homes annually).

The research comes ahead of the publication of the government’s social housing green paper, expected in the summer. The government promised the green paper, announced in September last year after the tragic fire at Grenfell Tower, would bring about a ‘fundamental rethink’ of social housing in the UK.

‘The social housing sector’s leading voices, including the National Housing Federation, Crisis, Shelter, the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, and the Chartered Institute of Housing, are calling on the government to use this opportunity to urgently redress the shocking shortfall in affordable housing.

David Orr, chief executive, NHF, said: ‘This groundbreaking new research shows the epic scale of the housing crisis in England. The shortfall of homes can’t be met overnight – instead, we need an urgent effort from the government to meet this need, before it publishes its social housing green paper in the summer.

‘The green paper will set out the government’s approach to tackling a number of key issues, like stigma of social housing tenants.

David Orr, chief executive of the National Housing Federation, said: ‘This groundbreaking new research shows the epic scale of the housing crisis in England. The shortfall of homes can’t be met overnight – instead, we need an urgent effort from the Government to meet this need, before it publishes its social housing green paper in the summer.’

Campbell Robb, chief executive of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, said: ‘It is unacceptable that currently in our society millions of people are locked out of being able to afford a decent and secure home. For years our failure to deliver enough affordable housing in England has led to rising levels of poverty and homelessness across our country.

‘Now is the time to redesign our housing market so that it works for everyone – no matter who they are or where they come from. That’s why it is crucial the government seizes the opportunity offered by the Social Housing Green Paper to deliver the genuinely affordable homes we desperately need.’

Thomas Barrett
Senior journalist - NewStart Follow him on Twitter

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