Experts respond to new Levelling Up Committee report

The Committee has published a new report calling for the government to leave affordable rents to the private sector and to direct their attention to social homes.

Earlier this week, the cross-party Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Committee (LUHC) published a new report titled ‘The Finances and Sustainability of the Social Housing Sector’, in which experts call on the government to invest in the social housing sector to ensure 90,000 new social rent homes can be delivered per year in England.

brown building

One of the ways of achieving this, according to professionals who work within the sector, is that the government should stop focusing their attention on affordable rents and they should set a clear, achievable target for the number of social rent homes it intends to create each year.

The report also recommends authorities use land value capture and reforms to grants and funding to support social housing, and help the sector deliver decarbonisation and fire safety improvements – a topic that should arguably be a priority since the tragic fire broke out at Grenfell Tower.

Responding to the report, Darren Rodwell, housing spokesperson for the Local Government Association (LGA), claimed that there are more than 1.2 million households on council waiting lists in this country and over 100,000 households living in temporary accommodation – a record high.

Rodwell said: ‘Long-term certainty on powers and funding could help councils deliver an ambitious build programme of 100,000 high-quality, climate-friendly social homes a year.’

In addition to Rodwell expressing his concerns, a number of other industry experts have also voiced their opinions on the new report.

Andy Hulme, chief executive, The Hyde Group

‘We need to be building around 90,000 more socially rented homes every year to meet existing need. But, to get anywhere near this, we need more public investment which will give the sector confidence and unlock an even larger amount of private investment.

‘Government can play an important role without necessarily as big a price tag. By giving housing providers more certainty on rents and longer funding programmes, investment in homes and the building of homes will be increased.’

Andrea Thorn, director of homes and communities, Riverside

‘Providing a target for the number of social homes the sector should build each year would enable government to work with housing associations and councils to deliver more much-needed homes.

‘Homes England should play a strategic role, providing grant funding for social housing which would help solve the housing crisis, boost the economy, create thousands of new jobs, and reduce pressure on the NHS, criminal justice system and social care system.

‘Ahead of the next general election we urge all political parties to read this report and engage with housing associations on how we can work together to fund and deliver more social housing in the decades to come.’

 In addition, London Councils welcomed the LUHC report, claiming that ‘without more government investment it is hard to see anything but a bleak future for social housing.’

‘With resources massively squeezed, it feels like we’ve been left with mission impossible,’ the spokesperson said. ‘Social housing is crucial to tackling London’s homelessness crisis. It’s a vital component of the capital’s social and economic success, and we should all want the sector to thrive. Boroughs are as keen as ever to work with ministers in ensuring more resources are secured for boosting social housing in London and across the country.’

Image: Huy Hóng Hớt

More on this topic:

‘Mission impossible’: Boroughs warn of social housing struggles amid budget cuts

Global accounts show record investment in social housing repairs despite problems


Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Help us break the news – share your information, opinion or analysis
Back to top