May’s housing announcement “tinkering at the edges”

“Responding to the Prime Minister’s conference announcement on housing, Radical Housing Network said:

“May is pumping £10bn into a housing policy that worsens the housing crisis: Help to Buy has kept house prices high, provides subsidies to a small number of people, and does nothing to address the chronic shortage of low-cost housing.

“And her announcement of £2bn for affordable housing alongside permitting some councils to build more social rent homes is simply tinkering at the edges of a failed system. May’s announcement was proclaimed a ‘revolutionary’ shift in policy – but in fact would only provide homes for just 5% of the 1.2 million people who have languished on waiting lists for years.

“Over decades we have lost 1.5 million council homes while powerful property owners dominate the market. In London, millions of people are stuck in poor housing on extortionate rents while developers game the system, while only a fraction – 13% – of new houses announced last year met even the low standard for ‘affordability’ set by the Conservatives.”

“If May wants to prove she’s ‘listened and learned’ on housing, she needs to get serious about providing the safe, decent and affordable homes which we desperately need. It’s estimated that we need national public investment of £10bn to provide enough council homes to meet demand, and it’s essential that tenants and communities are involved in the planning of those homes.

“Corbyn’s commitment to put tenants back at the heart of housing policy could be the start of real change, yet change is yet to be seen from London’s Labour run councils – including Lewisham, Haringey and Holloway – who continue to sell off public land and housing for profit in flawed ‘regeneration’ schemes, despite community opposition.

“The tragedy at Grenfell starkly revealed what happens when residents’ concerns and voices are ignored. Grenfell should mark a turning point for all parties, who must commit to real action on our broken housing system.”

Radical Housing Network, Facebook page

One thought on “May’s housing announcement “tinkering at the edges”

  1. Will they never learn.

    Markets need regulation to make them work for society – that is the nature of capitalism, that companies work for themselves and their profits and their shareholders benefit and NOT for the public good.

    So to ensure that they do what is right for society as a whole as well, you need regulation. For example, suppose Corporation Tax was optional but we “expected” companies to pay it for the good of society – how many companies would actually pay it? Zero? Which is why it is a legal requirement.

    If we want genuinely affordable housing, we need to make it a legal requirement without any loopholes (like claiming poverty on each and every development whilst reporting record bumper profits every year).

    If we want to stop land-banking, we need to make it a legal requirement either to build or sell on at reasonable prices to smaller developers who will. Two possible solutions:

    1. A law which says that if they gain planning permission but haven’t completed the substantial part of it before PP lapses, then they MUST put the land up for auction – with other large builders banned from bidding to allow small developers to get a look in.

    2. A law which says that land put accepted for inclusion in the local plan must be built upon by the end of the LP or similarly be put up for auction.

    I think that these two laws would do more for stimulating the housing market than any amount of subsidies.


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