Millions in need of affordable housing
Some 4 million people will need access to affordable housing by 2024, according to the Local Government Association’s report on affordable housing.
The LGA, which represents more than 370 councils, has called on ministers to take urgent steps to help councils once again become significant builders of new homes.
And the association warned that economic uncertainty following the EU referendum and growing demand for affordable homes makes it even more important for councils to be handed greater powers.
Cllr Peter Box, LGA housing spokesman, said: “More and more families will be affected by our housing crisis every year. As our analysis shows, millions of people studying hard and succeeding in work will also no longe be able to find an affordable and decent place to live.
“Bold new action is needed to solve our housing crisis following the vote to leave the European Union. A renaissance in house building by councils must be at the heart of this.
“The private sector clearly has an important role to play but the reality is that it cannot build the homes we need on its own, and will likely be further restricted by uncertainties in the months and years ahead.
“Councils want to get on with the job of building the new homes that people in their areas desperately need.
“If we are to stand any chance of solving our housing crisis, councils must be able to replace sold homes and reinvest in building more of the genuine affordable homes our communities desperately need now more than ever.”
Andrew McPhillips, chief economist at Yorkshire Building Society, added: “The cost of homes for sale and market rent is becoming increasingly unaffordable in many areas, which is having a serious impact on peoples’ disposable incomes and ultimately lowering their quality of life.
“Local councils have an important role to play in tackling the housing crisis, and more should be done to empower them to build on any of the available publicly owned land and borrow much greater sums than is currently permitted.
“Measures such as devolving housing investment to local authorities will help to ensure that a sufficient number of homes are built where they are needed most. Varying tenures of housebuilding are required across different areas and putting more power in the hands of local authorities would help ensure the availability of homes both for sale and market rent and alleviate the underlying causes of the problem.
“Local councils have a pivotal role in providing short-term measures to ease the housing crisis and long-term measures to solve it once and for all.”