Following the publication of the Labour Party’s social housing review, various members of the housing sector have responded.
CIH Chief Executive Terrie Alafat has said it is time to explore what affordable really means in all parts of the country. Terrie Alafat CBE said: “Our national housing crisis is causing real hardship for millions of people all over the country — as we have been saying for a long time, it is absolutely crucial that we focus on affordability.
“It’s not just a numbers game — yes we need to increase the number of homes we are building but we need to make sure we are building the right homes, in the right places, at the right prices.
“We know that for many people on lower incomes, the only truly affordable option is social rent — and yet not only are we failing to build enough of these homes, we are actually losing them at an alarming rate. Our research predicts we will lose 230,000 homes for social rent between 2012 and 2020, which is simply unacceptable.
“In recent years the definition of affordable housing has been stretched to breaking point for many people — the time is right for a national debate on what genuinely affordable housing should look like in all parts of the country.”
Lovell Managing Director Steve Coleby added: “We welcome the review’s focus on new-build social homes and look forward to further exploring these radical proposals which outline a potential step change in social housing provision. As a homes developer which works in partnership with local authorities and housing associations across the UK, we fully recognise the depth of the current housing crisis and have worked extensively with sector partners to find innovative solutions which result in the delivery of quality homes — available and affordable to people across a wide range of incomes — in the places where they are needed.
“The freeing up of land for development is key to this and we welcome the review’s recognition of the importance of land availability. Lovell’s own research has highlighted the need for creative approaches to unlocking land for development, including many public sector-owned sites which could be released for homes.”
Finally, Nicholas Harris, Chief Executive of Stonewater, said: “The Labour Party is right to highlight the urgent need to build more truly affordable, good quality homes to tackle the chronic housing shortage which has left over a million people on council waiting lists and rising numbers of working people and families living in rent poverty.
“Today’s Housing for the Many Green Paper provides some fresh ideas, innovative strategies and intelligent measures for fixing our broken housing market, making our communities safer places to live (post-Grenfell) and supporting housing associations in building more homes for those who need them most. The increasing prominence of the affordability of housing is an issue that has to be addressed.
“We would also welcome a longer 10-year rent settlement — as certainty allows us to plan more effectively and deliver more homes — along with access to cheaper finance for HAs. We look forward to working with all parties to ensure we can maximise the delivery of homes so badly needed.”