“The CIH report reveals that the number of affordable homes being built with Government money has fallen by 50 per cent since 2010, from 56,000 to 28,000.
Instead, money has been diverted to help middle- and high-income households get on the housing ladder. For example, around £5bn of loans have been given to buyers via the Help to Buy Scheme established by George Osborne in 2013.
“The CIH called for a shift in spending to help people on lower incomes afford homes.
Its chief executive, Terrie Alafat, said: “People on lower incomes are finding it increasingly difficult to make ends meet as they experience the impact of stagnant wages, rising inflation and welfare reform cuts. These factors and the shift towards ‘affordable rent’ all mean that housing is becoming increasingly unaffordable in many parts of the country.
“We know we need to build more homes to get to grips with our national housing crisis – our UK Housing Review briefing highlights that annual supply remains at least 30,000 homes short of household growth. But it’s not just about building more homes; it’s about building more affordable homes for people on lower incomes. The Government needs to take an urgent look at rebalancing the housing budget and investing more in genuinely affordable homes for rent.
“The November Budget gives the Government a golden opportunity to rebalance investment away from the private sector towards affordable housing without having to increase its overall commitment to housing.”
Critics say that, because affordable homes can cost up to 80 per cent of market value, they are not affordable for millions of people on low incomes.
However, Conservative ministers have prioritised building affordable homes over social homes.
As a result, since 2010 the number of new social homes has plummeted by 97 per cent, from almost 37,000 in 2010 to just over 1,100 last year.
The CIH called for more investment to maintain existing social homes – a need it said had been exposed by the Grenfell disaster. It said the Decent Homes Standard, which is used to measure whether a property is of an acceptable quality, has not been updated for ten years and that funding for helping landlords to maintain their properties has been scrapped.
“Essentially, investment in the existing social stock has been left for landlords to finance from rents, while government has been cutting their rental income and will continue to do so for another two years”, the report said. …”