Just 6,463 council homes built last year, with over a million on waiting lists

The Government has released its latest housebuilding figures, which reveal just 6,463 homes were built for social rent in England during 2017-18.

The numbers have been criticised by Labour’s housing spokesman John Healey, who said if the Government continue at this pace of housebuilding it will take 170 years to house the 1.25 million people currently on council waiting lists.

There are 30,000 fewer social rented homes being built a year than when the party left office in 2010 with the party pledging to build a million low-cost homes should they get into power, with the ‘majority’ for social rent.

In total there were 222,000 new homes built during the same period, which Communities Secretary James Brokenshire praised as ‘great news.’

‘But we are determined to do more to keep us on track to deliver the homes communities need,’ he added.

There were 47,355 ‘affordable’ homes delivered in 2017-18, which the Government defines as being offered for rent at 80% of the market rate.

Theresa May recently announced the removal of the Housing Revenue Account borrowing cap which is hoped will free up councils to deliver up to an estimated 10,000 homes a year.

In her speech at the Conservative Party conference in Birmingham, she said that the borrowing cap was holding councils back and contributing to the current housing crisis, adding: ‘It doesn’t make sense to stop councils from playing their part in solving it.’

Earlier this week Leeds committed to building 358 new social homes across several sites in the city over the next three years.

In September, planning expert Nick Belsten wrote in NewStart that the reason so little social housing has been delivered is because of a failure to protect publicly owned land from private development.

‘Over the past decade, large parcels of publicly owned land have been sold off to private developers, either to prop up under-funded local authority budgets or help the Government balance its book,’ he wrote.

‘Unfortunately, this has mainly resulted in a one-off cash injection and a lost opportunity to deliver much-needed housing for those most in need.’

Read the Government’s full housebuilding statistics here.

Thomas Barrett
Senior journalist - NewStart Follow him on Twitter


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