From the TUC

#Budget2016 ignores housing crisis

16 Mar 2016, by in Society & Welfare

Sadly although Chancellor Osborne once again asserted that his party were “the builders”, today’s budget largely ignored the housing crisis. The best that can be said is that there was a commitment of £115 million to help the homeless and rough sleepers, who must be the highest priority.

However, there was nothing else to address the UK housing shortage other than a modest amount for Community Housing Trusts. This is far too little to offset the damage that will be caused to housing associations in general by extending the right to buy.

The bald fact is that we are still building far too few houses to escape from the crisis. Its instructive to look at the current government’s record against that of previous Conservative administrations. We now have a bigger population than ever before, but last year England saw 21,000 fewer houses completed than 40 years ago. This is not a record to be proud of.

House building completions England (thousands):

2015 – 143,000
2005 – 159,000
1995 – 157,000
1985 – 164,000

Source: DCLG Statistics

We need more housing of all tenures, and especially more social housing, which is where the shoe really pinches.

Perhaps the hardest thing for Conservatives to bear is that they have not been able to stem the decline in home ownership. Official statistics take some time to emerge, but my best estimate is that there are nearly half a million fewer owner-occupier families than there were in 2007. The number declined by a quarter of a million in the period 2010-2013 alone, according to DCLG.

Falling home-owner numbers is likely to be part of the rationale for measures like the further tax breaks for those who rent out their houses as though they were hotels, through websites such as Airbnb.  Professional hotel businesses tend to see this as unfair  competition, of course.

Measures like help to save, help to buy and the starter homes scheme are not been strong enough to turn the situation around in the ownership sector, and there has been little in the current  government’s policy for anyone else – and nothing at all today.

One Response to #Budget2016 ignores housing crisis

  1. #Budget2016: TUC reaction roundup
    Mar 17th 2016, 3:24 pm

    […] The government will deliver 400,000 affordable housing by 2021. […]