‘Action is needed on housing as millions struggle’

Calls for more homes in the wake of a new report highlighting the scale of the issue have won support from a shocked housing group.

By The Newsroom
Monday, 22nd October 2012, 6:27 am

The National Housing Federation’s Home Truths Report claims that years of not building enough homes have led to rising rental and house prices, leaving millions of families struggling to pay for their home.

The result, according to the report, is an unsustainable housing market which could see millions more families relying on government support to pay their rent in the next few years.

The analysis and forecast of England’s housing market found that the future of our housing market is looking even bleaker, with both private rental and house prices forecast to rise sharply from 2015.

Private rents are now increasing at a faster rate than house prices, and the knock-on cost to the taxpayer is rising as a result.

Despite government efforts to tackle public debt, it is actually spending more on housing benefit. 417,830 more working people, an 86% increase since 2009, are now reliant on housing benefit to help them pay the rising rents on their home.

Alan Humphreys, chief executive of Bedfordshire based Grand Union Housing Group which owns and manages more than 10,000 homes across Bedfordshire, Northamptonshire and the surrounding counties, said: “We fully endorse the findings of the report. We now have millions of families either struggling to maintain their homes, priced out of the housing market completely.

“In addition nearly 10,000 more working families every month are now reliant on housing benefit to help pay their private rent. These people are the ‘strivers’ the Government wants to help, yet their future is looking bleak.

“This cannot continue; we need action now to address the causes of rising housing costs, not just the symptoms.

“It’s no surprise that one in 12 families in England is on the waiting list for social housing.

“Successive governments have failed to tackle the under-supply of housing and time is now running out. If we don’t urgently fix the housing market we will have a generation who are priced out of renting a home, let alone buying one.

“Together with the National Housing Federation we are calling on the government to release publicly owned land to housing associations and provide the support required to build more affordable houses.”

Public support for building more homes is also crucial and the National Housing Federation’s new campaign Yes to Homes is aimed at encouraging more people to speak up in support of more new homes.