New social homes built has decreased by 85% in past ten years

New government statistics on affordable housing supply in England show that between March 2020 and April 2021 just one social home was built for every 192 households stuck on housing waiting lists.

5,955 new social rent homes were delivered last year, a 12% decrease on the previous year and a decrease of 85% from ten years ago.

Analysis by Shelter found only 11% of the affordable homes built last year were at a ‘genuinely affordable’ social rent, while in 150 local authorities (45%) no social homes were built at all.

brown concrete building during daytime

Polly Neate, Chief Executive of Shelter, said: ‘The fact only 11% of “affordable homes” built last year were genuinely affordable social homes is beyond belief – especially when thousands of renters are edging closer towards homelessness. Building a few thousand social homes a year given over a million households are stuck on social housing waiting lists, just doesn’t cut it.

‘Every day our helpline picks up the phone to families desperate for the security of a social home. With soaring living costs and pandemic protections withdrawn, hard-up families are more worried than ever about how they’ll keep a roof over their heads, and food on the table.

‘This is exactly the time for the government to start putting its money into the right place, by building the only type of housing that’s actually affordable by design. Investing in sustainable social homes will give us the best odds of levelling up the country.’

The statistics come as Shelter publishes a new report, Levelling Up with Social Housing, looking at the housing emergency through three levelling up locations which lack affordable housing – Burnley, Plymouth and Sheffield.

The report finds that there is an increase of private renters relying on housing benefits since the pandemic, with rising fuel costs, the £20 Universal Credit cut and shorter notice periods.

Shelter warns that the government risks pricing people out of their areas by channeling funding into transport and town centres, as this may increase housing costs in these areas.

The charity is calling on the government to match investment in infrastructure with investment in social housing under the levelling up agenda to ensure local people can benefit from the growth that comes from levelling up.

In related news, the number of planning applications in London where at least 35% of the homes are affordable has increased by 45% since 2018, with the proportion of affordable homes in schemes approved by City Hall nearly doubling since 2016.

Photo by Greg Willson


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