England faces shortfall of 84,000 new homes unless ministers take urgent action to 'avert disaster', charity warns
Number of new social rent homes could plummet by 30 per cent this year 每 making it lowest since Second World War, while more than a million households stuck on social housing waiting lists, analysis shows
More than 80,000 new homes could be lost due to a stall on housebuilding during the pandemic unless the government takes urgent action to ※avert disaster§, new research warns.
As the prime minister sets out to promise he will ※build, build, build§ in a speech on Tuesday, campaigners say the ※housebuilding slump§ caused by the coronavirus crisis will have dire consequences for the provision of new housing, including ※much-needed§ social homes.
The findings estimate that without urgent government action, 116,000 construction jobs could be lost by next year, and that under the worst-case scenario, the government could fall significantly below its own housebuilding targets, with as many as 318,000 new homes lost over the next five years.
The analysis shows that unless the government intervenes, 4,300 social rent homes could be delivered in this financial year, an annual reduction of 30 per cent 每 marking the lowest number of social homes built in any year since the Second World War, while more than a million households are stuck on social housing waiting lists across England.
Just over 4,000 social homes would not even be enough to house those families currently waiting for a social home in Wakefield, let alone the rest of the country, according to Shelter.
Savills suggests an initial dip in housebuilding will be down to necessary social distancing on building sites reducing capacity, with further decreases then triggered by the reduced demand for market sale homes and a heavy reliance on private instead of social housebuilding, at a time when the country is entering a protracted recession.
It comes as Boris Johnson prepares to declare his intention to ※build, build, build§ during a speech on Tuesday, in which he will attempt to move his premiership on from the Covid crisis and reboot his election pledge to ※level up§ disadvantaged parts of the country, pledging to accelerate the infrastructure programme set out in the 2019 Conservative manifesto as part of that.
Amid fears of rising unemployment and homelessness, Shelter is urging ministers to bring forward the ?12.2bn already promised to be spent over the next five years under the Affordable Homes Programme. The charity said fast-tracking the cash and spending it in just two years on building social homes could ※plug the gap§ and ※save tens of thousands of jobs§.
Polly Neate, chief executive of Shelter, said that by bringing forward planned spending and building social housing, the government would have the chance to ※avert disaster§.
※As the government prepares a major push on infrastructure and investment, it has a perilously short window to avert a lengthy housebuilding crash that will wipe out tens of thousands of new homes and jobs,§ she continued.
※There are over a million households on social housing waiting lists, and even more likely to join them as the recession bites 每 making the case for social homes self-evident. The pandemic has shown that a safe home is fundamental, but just not enough people have one.§
A Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government spokesperson said: ※Last year we delivered over 241,000 new homes across England 每 more than at any point in the last 30 years.
※Building the homes the country needs is central to the mission of this government and is an important part of our plans to recover from the impact of the coronavirus. That＊s why we＊re rethinking the planning system from first principles and spending ?12bn on affordable housing from 2021, the biggest cash investment in a decade.§