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Commons Briefing Paper – Housing: Raising quality and supply 30/01/2020 Labelled as Development, Scrutiny

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 Cap."  

 

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

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