Councils all over the UK have called in the Government to do more to solve the problem of affordable housing as prices keep up the upwards trend.
The Association for Public Service Excellence (APSE) and the Town and Country Planning Association (TCPA) published a report on housing need in the UK which urgently called for Government action to deliver the homes needed in the UK.
Furthermore, the report revealed that 72% of councils are of the opinion that the National Planning Police Framework (NPPF) is an obstacle to building affordable housing. A total of 96% of councils say stated that their need for affordable housing is severe or moderate and 7% think starter homes will help address affordable housing.
As a reason to why their ability to build social and affordable housing is limited, councils particularly named the viability test laid out in the NPPF. Nevertheless, 11% of councils think that the viability test will help provide the number needed to tackle the biggest housing crisis of a generation.
“With 96% of councils describing their need for affordable homes as severe or moderate, and 89% worried that the extension of Right to Buy will lead to less affordable homes, it is clear that there is a real crisis,” said Kate Henderson, chief executive of the TCPA.
“Councils are concerned that government policy is not enabling them to deliver genuinely affordable housing. We need to have a housing strategy that provides affordable homes to all people,” she added.
The report recommends strategies to tackle the challenges of building enough housing, saying that the Government needs to put together a housing strategy that provides appropriate housing for everyone in society.
Furthermore, the report also suggests that councils should not be forced to sell their social housing in order to fund the extension of Right to Buy, with some research showing that nine of 10 councils are worried that this extension will lead to less housing available for social rent.
“Our main message is we need Government to put in place a housing strategy for the nation that provides decent homes for all. Whilst efforts have been concentrated on so called affordable homes this is often not the case and these homes remain out of reach for the vast majority of people,” said Paul O’Brien, APSE chief executive.
“The situation is even worse for those dependent on social and genuinely affordable housing for rent. Current housing policy is in need of demolition. The time has come to start afresh by putting local authorities and new council homes at the heart of a new housing strategy,” he pointed out.
Furthermore, the report showcases innovations in local governments, including new, effective models of housing delivery and the report call for the Government to give back control to local authorities over their investment plans, rents and assets.