As part of a series of insights for the new Parliament that
covers a range of topics that will take centre stage in UK and
international politics in the new Parliament, the House of Commons
Library has produced a Briefing Paper aimed at Members of
Parliament (MP), and in particular new MPs, entitled Housing:
Raising quality and supply.
In terms of housing supply and affordability, the Briefing Paper
says that the most pressing challenge facing the housing sector is
to achieve a sustained increase in housebuilding, highlighting a
long-term failure to meet newly arising demand and to tackle the
backlog of unmet housing needs. One visible manifestation of
the backlog is the 169% increase in rough sleeping recorded in
England between 2010 and 2017.
The House of Commons Briefing Papers says that focus has begun
to turn to tenure, and particularly the contribution that more
social rented housing could make to easing affordability pressures
and reducing expenditure on housing benefit, with rents in social
housing being typically at 50% of market rates.
The Briefing Paper acknowledges that 100 years after the 'Addison Act' paved the way for large-scale
council housing development, there are calls for a substantial
public sector housebuilding programme to fill the supply gap. It
acknowledges that whilst local authority Housing Revenue Account
(HRA) borrowing caps were removed in October 2018 this will not, on
its own, prompt development at the levels required. A point
highlighted recently in the ARCH/NFA/CIH report: "Local
Authority New Build Programmes and the lifting of the HRA Borrowing
The Briefing Paper reports that public housing investment in
England has grown and currently stands at around £53 billion, but
it is focused on private market interventions such as Help to Buy.
It says a potential policy response is a rebalancing of investment
towards affordable housing. This is something ARCH would support
and to further make the case for council housing we will be
organising a series of Parliamentary Briefings with our colleagues
at the National Federation of ALMOs (NFA) aimed specifically at new
Members of Parliament. Watch out for further details in future
editions of the ARCH member bulletin.
Read the full House of Commons Library Briefing on
Housing Quality and Supply