May's new plan '˜will not solve'¨housing crisis'

Government measures to help build new homes and end the 'stigma' of social rental will fail to solve the country's housing crisis, an organisation representing town hall bosses has warned.

The head of the Local Government Association (LGA) has criticised an announcement by Prime Minister Theresa May of £2bn to build tens of thousands of new homes, saying it does not to go far enough.

Mrs May said the programme would offer housing associations the chance to secure money for projects running from 2022 until 2028/29. The funding for social and affordable housing is separate to £9bn of public funding for an existing programme running until 2022.

But Lord Porter, chairman of the LGA, said: “Our national housing shortage is one of the most pressing issues we face. Any new access to funding for housing associations to employ more brickies and less bureaucrats and build more affordable homes is positive but does not go far enough.

“Homes for affordable and social rent are desperately needed across the country now, not in 2022, and the measures announced today fail to provide the funding certainty councils also need to play a leading role in solving our housing crisis.”

Yesterday, Mrs May said social housing had been “pushed to the edge of political debate” under successive governments. She said: “For many people a certain stigma still clings to social housing. Some residents feel marginalised and overlooked, and are ashamed to share the fact that their home belongs to a housing association or local authority.”

Figures for 2016/17 show that 3.9m households, around nine million people, are in the social rented sector, some 17 per cent of all households.

Shadow Housing Secretary John Healey said: “The reality is spending on new affordable homes has been slashed so the number of new social rented homes built last year fell to the lowest level since records began.”

Polly Neate, chief executive of Shelter, said: “There are over a million households on social housing waiting lists, and yet last year we built the lowest number of social homes at any point since the Second World War.

“This is why it’s good to see the Prime Minister today indicating the Government is starting to get serious about correcting this historic failure. This must be the start and not the end.

“What we need now is more social homes actually being built as well as a big shift in attitude to start viewing social housing as a right for hard-pressed families across the country.”

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