Yesterday the think-tank Institute for Public Policy and Research (IPPR) released its ‘fundamental review of housing policy’ which presented ‘a new and radical strategy for housing’.
The review identifies the following problems with the English housing system: “demand has heavily outstripped supply for decades. Homeownership is too often out of reach. Social housing is being residualised. The private rented sector remains largely unprofessional and insecure and those who live in it have too little control. Meanwhile, the housing benefit bill soars at over £20 billion a year, and rising. England remains one of the richest countries in the world, but it is failing properly to house its people”.
Their strategy has 3 areas of focus:
–A social argument for homeownership
–A better deal for renters
–A new form of progressive localism in housing
A number of blogs have done some excellent initial summaries and critiques of the strategy that I think are worth reading:
- Red Brick Blog: highlights the contradiction of using fixed term tenancies to improve supply through greater turnover and encouraging social tenants to buy their home, and brilliantly summarises factors that led to the social housing supply shortage, other than the 1977 homeless legislation
- Jules Birch: excellent and concise summary of the main policy proposals (excellent if you want to get the gist of the report without having to read it!)
- Polly Toynbee: focuses on the need to build, the nation’s unhealthy addiction to house-price gambling, the problems of benefit caps, affordable rent and RTB and the role Labour can play in housing.
As Private Sector Coordinator, I particularly welcome proposals to improve the private rented sector and any opportunity for housing associations to have a role in this, e.g. 5 year tenancies for private renting families with children and a 5 month notice period and landlord registration to ensure decent living conditions. In my short time as Private Sector Coordinator I’ve seen the quality of accommodation on offer in the private rented sector and the lack of power (or possible desire?) by councils to address this – but I think I’ll save that for another blog
Let me know your thoughts on what the future of housing strategy should be